5 Important Steps to Ensure Your Workplace from Natural Disasters July 29, 2019 – Posted in: Blog
Wildfires, hurricanes, winter storms, tornadoes, and hail storms – these are just some of the natural disasters that hit the United States in 2018. The causes of these disasters were complex, but experts agree that climate change has contributed to these devastating occurrences. While companies can never prepare 100% for natural disasters, there are some important strategies and disaster preparedness plans that they can do to limit the damage that these unwarranted events bring and protect the lives of their employees.
Analyze your current situation and existing resources
You never know when a disaster will strike. It is important to be ready at all times.
Resource management is essential to disaster preparedness. Before you start conducting a disaster drill or training your staff with what to do when there is a natural disaster, and creating a business emergency preparedness plan, you should perform an internal resources analysis to see if you have enough resources to protect your facility and your employees.
For instance, check if your facility had gone through annual routine maintenance and whether there are areas that have to be repaired or improved. Ensuring that your company meets the building standards in your state or city is an important step to securing your workplace against the destructive impact of natural disasters.
Next, see to it that you have the necessary company resources and supplies for dealing with emergencies, such as air movers and fire extinguishers.
Estimate the disaster risks in your area
To create a comprehensive disaster recovery plan and security procedures in the workplace, list potential emergencies in your area and rank them according to their likelihood and severity. This way, you will know what resources to invest in to ensure workplace safety. There is no reason to invest thousands of dollars in earthquake planning if your building is not anywhere near an earthquake-related disaster area. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should ignore the risks. You just don’t have to deal with detailed response tasks.
Consider creating a risk matrix (which should be based on impact and likelihood) to identify areas where an investment business emergency preparedness is most needed.
Create a disaster preparedness plan
Business disaster preparedness starts with a plan – a good one. Once you’ve assessed the disaster risks in your area, follow these tips to a disaster preparedness plan:
- Build a team. Put together a team of subject matter experts from different departments who will determine the overall span of the plan.
- Workplace safety during disaster management should focus on mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.
- Make critical information quickly accessible. Your company disaster management plan should be accessible to everyone in your workplace.
- Update your work safety procedures from time to time. Make sure it corresponds to the policies set by your state.
- Ensure clear communication among employees. Create a high-priority text alerts or alarms that everyone in your company can clearly identify. Each workplace is unique so find what works for your team. Additionally, plan a way to communicate back and forth after the disaster warning has come off so that each person’s needs can be addressed.
- Create a disaster recovery plan. While you wouldn’t know what could happen, it is essential to create a plan to make returning to work as smooth as possible for your employees. Keep in mind that it’s not just your workplace that is affected but their homes and families. Take this into consideration and look into having a counselor available for employees to speak to.
- If needed, designate a temporary workplace so you can continue operating your business while your office or building is being repaired. Assign staff or team members to take care of important tasks after the disaster, such as obtaining additional resources, salvaging important documents, and assisting with the cleanup.
Prepare the necessary facilities and resources
The emergency supplies in your workplace should be situated or stored in areas that are easily accessible by employees in case a natural disaster strikes.
- Food supplies – your workplace should have a minimum of three-day supply of food and water per employee.
- Shelter supplies – these include thermal blankets, canopy shelters, and tube tents.
- Emergency lights, fire extinguishers, and emergency radios
- Emergency kits – businesses need comprehensive emergency firsts that are easily mobilized. First aid kit supplies include plaster in a variety of sizes, disposable sterile gloves, triangular bandages, safety pins, antiseptics, pain relievers, etc.
- Search and rescue supplies
- Sanitation supplies – these should include water extraction equipment, cleaning products, air movers, etc.
Prepare your employees
Surviving natural disasters involve a massive team effort. Everyone – from department heads to the frontline employees should be trained and prepared to face a natural disaster.
Conduct emergency preparedness courses
Equip your staff with the skills needed to survive natural disasters and calamities by conducting disaster training, which should include CPR training and first aid courses. You should also include your company disaster management plan during the onboarding process of new employees to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Train your people
It’s not enough that your employees know what to do. They should be able to apply what they learned. During emergencies, people can panic. Unless you train your employees on how to deal with the disaster, you can’t guarantee that they will be able to follow the workplace safety and procedure when the actual emergency happens.
Test the plan
Testing the plan is necessary to asses whether or not you have a reliable disaster management policy in place. In addition to employee training, conduct emergency drills regularly to see if there’s a need to revise certain procedures or add some more.
To test your plan, you have to come up with a mock disaster scenario. Select an incident that can realistically happen. For example, you could build a scenario around fire occurring at your office.
Next, communicate with key team leaders. You will likely have to contact one person in your IT department. You will also have to contact external individuals to carry out your mock disasters, such as your local fire department and emergency personnel.
Once’s everything is set up. Put your mock disaster into action. Analyze how employees responded, whether they followed key procedures or not, and what the result was. At this point, you will know whether there’s a need to update your existing disaster management plan or keep it that way.
Creating a solid business emergency preparedness plan should protect your workplace and employees against the devastating effects of natural disasters. To facilitate a successful disaster preparedness strategy, analyze your current situation and resources, assess your risks, create the plan, prepare the necessary tools and supplies, prepare and train your employees, and test your plan.