4 Hazards your business should be prepared for!
Who should participate in National Preparedness Month? Everyone!
In this article we will focus on applying emergency preparedness to your business, but there are also many tools and tips to apply at home to protect your family!
This year's theme for National Preparedness Month:
A lasting legacy!
Here is everything you need to ensure your business is protected and to help you kick off National Preparedness Month with your team!
The 4 major hazards to prepare for:
floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes
widespread and serious illnesses like the flu and COVID-19
Human Caused Hazards
accidents and acts of violence
Technology Related Hazards
power outages and equipment failure
Creating specific tool kits that have step by step guides on how to handle specific hazards can greatly increase the safety and wellbeing of those affected by the crisis.
Below, we have linked ready made tool kits that you can use to:
Identify Your Risk
Develop A Plan
Be Recognized and Inspire Others
Unlike other natural disasters, earthquakes occur without warning and cannot be predicted. Most of the United States is at some risk for earthquakes, not just the West Coast, so it is important that you understand your risk, develop preparedness and mitigation plans, and take action.
Many parts of the United States, including Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal areas, Hawaii, parts of the Southwest, Puerto Rico, the Pacific Coast, and the U.S. Virgin Islands and territories in the Pacific may be directly affected by heavy rains, strong winds, wind-driven rain, coastal and inland floods, tornadoes, and coastal storm surges resulting from tropical storms and hurricanes. The Ready Business Hurricane Toolkit helps leaders take action to protect employees, protect customers, and help ensure business continuity as well.
Inland Flooding Toolkit
Most of the United States is at some risk for flooding, so it is important that organizations, businesses, and community groups understand the potential impacts.
Power Outage Toolkit
While a Power Outage may not seem as dangerous as a tornado or earthquake, they can still cause damage to homes, businesses and communities. Power Outages cost the U.S. economy $20 billion to $55 billion annually and continue to increase each year (CRS, 2012).
Severe Wind/Tornado Toolkit
It is not just in Tornado Alley. Most of the United States is at some risk for severe wind and tornadoes.
When planning how your team will handle a hazard, ready.gov recommends the following:
The planning process should take an “all hazards” approach. There are many different threats or hazards. The probability that a specific hazard will impact your business is hard to determine. That’s why it’s important to consider many different threats and hazards and the likelihood they will occur.
Strategies for prevention/deterrence and risk mitigation should be developed as part of the planning process. Threats or hazards that are classified as probable and those hazards that could cause injury, property damage, business disruption or environmental impact should be addressed.
In developing an all hazards preparedness plan, potential hazards should be identified, vulnerabilities assessed and potential impacts analyzed. The risk assessment identifies threats or hazards and opportunities for hazard prevention, deterrence, and risk mitigation. It should also identify scenarios to consider for emergency planning. The business impact analysis (BIA) identifies time sensitive or critical processes and the financial and operational impacts resulting from disruption of those business processes. The BIA also gathers information about resources requirements to support the time sensitive or critical business processes.
This information is useful in making informed decisions regarding investments to offset risks and avoid business disruptions.
Once you have completed your planning process, it's time to implement! Here is a checklist to follow provided by ready.gov:
Resource Management: Resources needed for responding to emergencies, continuing business operations and communicating during and after an incident should be identified and assessed.
Emergency Response Plan: Plans to protect people, property and the environment should be developed. Plans should include evacuation, sheltering in place and lockdown as well as plans for other types of threats identified during the risk assessment.
Crisis Communications Plan: A plan should be established to communicate with employees, customers, the news media and stakeholders.
Business Continuity Plan: A business continuity plan that includes recovery strategies to overcome the disruption of business should be developed.
Information Technology Plan: A plan to recover computer hardware, connectivity and electronic data to support critical business processes should be developed.
Employee Assistance & Support: The business preparedness plan should encourage employees and their families to develop family preparedness plans. Plans should also be developed to support the needs of employees following an incident.
Incident Management: An incident management system is needed to define responsibilities and coordinate activities before, during and following an incident.
Training: Persons with a defined role in the preparedness program should be trained to do their assigned tasks. All employees should be trained so they can take appropriate protective actions during an emergency.
Preparing your team for an emergency can be a lengthy, but crucial process. Here are some business testimonials that highlight the importance of preparedness.
It is important to understand the impact hazards have on your business and what you can do to prevent them from occurring, and to reduce damage. To better understand how a hazard could impact your business, here is a business impact analysis. Not all hazards can be prevented, follow this link for everything you need to know to prevent and reduce damage from hazards.
When a major disaster strikes, here are some tools you can use:
Access demographic and economic data for impacted areas
Breakdown of all disasters and emergencies
Effectively prepare for emergencies for individuals with disabilities
Additional emergency preparedness resources provided by American Red Cross
To see if your area has been declared for individual assistance
Review the presidential policy directive-8 for official National Preparedness guidance
For FEMA updates and assistance