Just as you need to have an individual or family plan for how to manage in an emergency, so too should your business. The better prepared you are to navigate through any situation that might arise, the easier it will be to get back into the usual operation.
Unexpected disruptions to business operations can be prevented with a well-thought-out emergency management plan and recovery plan to help protect your business before, during and after an emergency.
Natural disasters, such as floods, fires and earthquakes can strike without warning, and throw a spanner into the general running of your business.
Your primary aim with an emergency plan is to ensure that your business is able to act and continue to be operational. To do so, you need to have in place specific plans for your business to manage operations in the event of an emergency prior to, during and after its occurrence.
You will want to ensure that you have the following plans developed for your business:
- The continuity plan, which helps you to prepare your business for an emergency by identifying risks to critical areas, and how best to protect them.
- The emergency action plan allows you and your staff to know what to do during an emergency situation
- The recovery plan which guides your business’s recovery after an emergency.
Once you have those in place, you will need to ensure that you have a list and copies of the supporting documentation that you will need, such as detailed emergency procedures, evacuation maps and insurance information. By having these documents in place, you can ensure that your emergency management plans are equipped with comprehensive information to smooth the process.
To keep that information up to date, and to be certain that your emergency management plan stays relevant to changing situations and circumstances, you will need to regularly review the contents. Keeping both the management and recovery plans updated will ensure that you are prepared for any eventuality.
In the event that staff changes occur or locations for business alter, those changes need to be reflected in the plan.
All of your staff should be apprised of the plans and procedures that are in place. Doing so through practice, drills and repeated enforcement of the steps to be taken can help you determine if anything needs to change. This is a key opportunity to understand the efficiency of your emergency procedures and plans for your business, and if anything can be done to improve.
This could be as simple as fire and evacuation drills, through to meetings and safety courses on what to do in the event of an emergency.
Of course, there are some emergencies that cannot be circumnavigated with a simple plan. The recent flooding in Northern NSW and Queensland shows that even the best-made plans can be less than effective in the face of an unprecedented disaster.
In this case, thinking about and implementing the ways that you can prepare your business to deal with the potential ramifications of a worst-case scenario maybe the better outcome. You may need to consider:
- Taking out insurance for the business, or checking your current
- Taking into account the location and risks associated with the area
- Backing up and secure your data in offsite locations to prevent loss
- Keeping a list of emergency contacts and recovery contacts (such as police, fire, insurance, employees etc)
- Reviewing your evacuation procedures and updating