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How to Create an Emergency Preparedness Plan for Your Business

As a business owner, you’ve done everything in your power to make sure your business is successful and meeting its goals. You’ve avoided common hiring mistakes, taken steps to market your business and made sure your employees are up to speed on important safety and training protocols. But have you prepared an emergency response plan for any potential catastrophes that could derail your operations?

Having an emergency preparedness plan for your business is like having the right insurance for your business — you may not realize how important it is until you need it. Don’t let an unforeseen emergency wreck your business. Take the right steps now to create an emergency response plan that will keep your operations intact in the event of an emergency.

Why Your Business Needs an Emergency Plan

An emergency response plan outlines what steps your business needs to take in the event of an emergency. From storms to power outages, there are several types of emergencies that you need to be prepared for. These can be categorized as:

  • Natural hazards: Natural hazards include threats like earthquakes and severe storms.
  • Technology hazards: Power outages, chemical spills, supply chain interruptions and issues related to information technology, such as loss of internet connection, are examples of technology hazards.
  • Human-caused hazards: Whether someone accidentally drives through your storefront or they intentionally rob your business, you’re facing a human-caused hazard.

Identify Your Risk

Every business faces a variety of hazards. But every business is different, which means the risks to every business are different.

If your business is located in a region where tornadoes are common, for example, the risk of your business being impacted by a tornado is more likely compared to a business in a region where tornadoes are uncommon.

Likewise, the nature of your business can influence the risks to your business. For example, if you own a dairy farm that relies on machinery to keep milk and other products cold, a power outage could be devastating to your business, whereas a power outage is much less of a concern to a u-pick agribusiness. 

In order to create an effective emergency response plan for your business, it’s essential to first complete a risk assessment so you know what potential threats you need to plan for and how those threats could impact your business.

Create an Action Plan

Once you know which hazards pose the greatest risk to your business, it’s time to start mapping out your response plan. Your emergency plan should be comprehensive and include items such as:

  • A list of emergency personnel and their contact information
  • The internal and external resources your business will need in order to protect its employees, customers and infrastructure
  • A map or plan that includes evacuation routes and other pertinent details about how occupants can get to safety (emergency exits or gathering points for employees, for example)
  • A communications plan that advises how internal and external communications should be handled in the event of an emergency
  • A list of protective actions (such as sheltering in place or evacuation) and when they should be taken

Train Your Employees

What good is a plan if it isn’t executed? Ensure your employees know what the emergency response plan is and what they need to do if an emergency happens by hosting formal and frequent training sessions. Exercises and drills are great options to help your employees become familiar with the emergency response plan. Plus, by regularly reviewing your emergency response plan, you’ll be able to make revisions as needed so your plan continues to evolve as the needs of your business change.

Be Prepared

Emergencies happen. Make sure you prepare your business for anything that might come along by having the right insurance coverage. Contact your local Farm Bureau agent to make sure you have adequate protection for your business.