Can you afford to let an emergency or disaster shut down your business? What a year it has been! Fires, flooding, COVID-19. Too many of our Clark County neighbors and business owners were affected by the unknown. Businesses were closed temporarily, some permanently. Revenue was lost. Employees were laid off or went elsewhere. When you think of an emergency do you think, “Oh that just happens to the other guys, not me”? Surprise! It just happened. Now what? Whether it’s a natural disaster or a specific occurrence, a well-prepared manager/owner is ready to handle the impact of the disaster on the following:
- Health and Safety of Employees and Tenants
- Buildings Owned or Operated by Company
- Equipment Owned or Operated by Company
- Interruption to Business Operations
- Retaining Key Personnel
- Loss or Damage to Vital Company Data and Proprietary Information
- Vendor and/or Supplier Disruptions to Production Flow
- Future Public Relations
With an Emergency Management Plan in place, you can navigate the unknown from a position of power rather than victim. So, what if you don’t have an Emergency Management Plan in place? Don’t panic. Take a deep breath and shake off the anxiety. There are many things you can do to prepare so that when a pipe bursts and floods your office, or a fire breaks out, you know what to do next. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
- Review your insurance coverage. Sit down with your agent to discuss your policy in depth. Many times, the insured is not clear on what exactly is covered. You may find gaps in your insurance and finding them now will save you big time should a disaster strike.
- Have a dedicated emergency team. Assign specific staff members to a chain of command and give them responsibilities for communication and safety.
- Know your evacuation plan and make sure each new employee is educated. Know where the exits are on all floors. Locate all fire extinguishers and make sure they are on your property map. Make sure you have a designated area for emergency vehicles to park.
- Have a roster of employee and/or tenant information. You need to know how many suites are occupied and how many people are in each suite. How will communication be carried out with your employees or tenants if you have to evacuate your property?
- Know your building systems. Where are the utility shut off valves? Is your fire sprinkler system a wet or dry system? Do you have a security system that is automatically linked to the police and fire department? Do you have emergency lighting or generators?
- Are the blueprints to your building in a safe accessible place? Often fire departments rely on blueprints during a fire emergency.
- Where are the keys to the property? Do you have someone in your chain of command who has a second set of keys?
- Make a list of service contractors you can call on in an emergency and include them in your safety binder and with key personnel.
- What is your relocation plan? How will you continue operations if you have to vacate your building? Do you have another facility you can use temporarily? What if your building is a total loss?
By putting together your Emergency Management Plan you can have peace of mind knowing that you’ve planned ahead and will know what to do when disaster strikes. 2020 proved to all of us that we’re more susceptible to the unknown than we thought. You may not know what the future holds, but you can take preventative measures now to ensure your business will thrive, even in less than desirable circumstances.
Kelly Pierre leads PuroClean of Orchards’ sales and business development. Kelly and her husband Duane are the owners/president of PuroClean of Orchards, which provides full water damage repair services. They can be reached at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.