Running a small business can sometimes come with surprises, but one you don’t want to deal with is an emergency. Fortunately, you can prepare for emergencies right now in order to feel more prepared in the moment that something does happen. Rather than hoping for the best, you small business should have a crisis management plan that your team is made aware of, in order to survive anything from a natural disaster to a power outage.
Coming up with a plan, writing it down, and testing it out will help you to be ready in the unfortunate event that something takes place and it’s better to assume one will rather than cross your fingers that nothing will happen. You can also prepare by having your team learn skills like CPR or keeping a survival kit available at the office. Take a look at how you can create your crisis management plan to protect your small business and those that depend on you.
What types of emergencies could happen?
Depending on your location, a natural disaster of any sort could hit and take you by surprise. Many times when an earthquake hits, it takes a few moments for someone to realize what is happening before deciding how to protect themselves in the situation. Knowing in advance what you would do in the event of an earthquake, tornado, or hurricane will allow you to feel secure in the moment knowing where you should put yourself in the building.
Along with these terrifying natural disasters, emergencies can happen from a flood, from a fire occurring, or through other scenarios like chemical spills, toxic gas releasing, or an explosion. Aside from the weather and other accidents, you could run into power outages from poor weather, civil disturbances, terrorism hitting your part of the country, and even workplace violence that could harm someone in your team.
Your small business may be lucky enough to avoid such situations, but it’s common to run into a power outage, serious illness with someone from your team, IT issues, or a public relations problem. Don’t think that your company is safe just because you run a smaller operation either. Start researching about the likelihood of different natural disasters in your area, the common risks that come with your industry, and other environmental factors that you should be aware of in order to come up with your crisis management plan.
Coming up with your plan
Now that you’ve gotten a grip on what types of problems could occur, it’s a good idea to start writing down your plan before testing it out. Start with the escape routes you would use in the event of a fire or other emergency that takes you out of the building. Make sure this includes an evacuation procedure that could be posted around the building. In some cases, this may mean sending staff members to a certain floor of the building or to another location. Each department or floor of your building should have instructions.
Next, come up with procedures for your employees that would remain in the building for any reason. Make sure they know how to operate a fire extinguisher, understand how to perform essential tasks, and can shut down critical operations if needed while you’re not there.
Make sure everyone has the contact information of who to contact for information in the event of an emergency, such as a blizzard that has him or her questioning if operations are taking place that day, or another situation where an a employee would need an explanation of duties during the emergency situation. Make sure anyone that is in charge during an emergency can do rescue or medical duties.
In addition to your emergency tasks and getting your team on the same page as far as where to go, who to contact, and what to do during emergencies, it’s important to keep a plan for which primary business functions would need back up quickly after the disaster and all of the resources needed to get businesses running back to normal. These extra details will make a huge difference when an emergency catches you off guard and takes over your office.
Testing it out
Make sure you’ve come up with various plans for different scenarios to avoid one that is so long that you never look at it. Then, test your plan to make sure the team knows what to do during an emergency. People will remember it better when they act it out, which means you should test your emergency drills with the staff, ensure all contact numbers work, and make sure each team member would know their role during the emergency. Test this out regularly to make sure everyone still remembers throughout the year.
Don’t forget to test your smoke detectors and fire extinguishers, have a supply kit for survival needs in the office, keep a first aid kit handy, have your phone set up with emergency alerts from government services, and have your staff learn CPR in the event that someone needs rescued from cardiac arrest too.
Having a plan in place may be what saves your business in the long run. We cannot predict everything that will happen, but with the right plan in place, you won’t have anything to worry about. Use these tips to prepare a crisis management plan because your business can’t afford to be unprepared when disaster strikes.