How Prepared Are You For Disaster?
How many times do you hear about lockdowns and evacuations happening because of weather disasters or terrorism? Unfortunately, in the world we live in today, these events are becoming more and more common. We spend a lot of time seeing news reports about things going wrong, and yet we all very quickly dismiss our own need for a plan for evacuation or emergency response. I
t’s not just in our personal lives but in the office.
If you are a business owner, you know that health and safety are the biggest priorities that you need to think about. You have to make sure that every member of your team across every department has been educated and trained on what to do in an emergency.
You have to have a policy in place to keep your staff safe in the event of a terrorist threat, which means that you need multiple safety plans and disaster plans to ensure that you are all safe. The afterthought should be business continuity. When disaster strikes, you need to know that your business activity can continue and that you can still offer your staff a salary and a place to work.
It can be very easy to ignore your need to have a disaster plan in place, but when you haven’t considered the need for portable buildings to work in, if the office has a fire, it’s because you don’t know your options yet. All of this comes in the planning that you need to do for a workplace disaster.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to take up much of your time to get into place. It also doesn’t have to take much money or time from you to get this understood across the company.
So, with this in mind, you need to expect the worst and consider the following steps to ensure that you are ready for any disaster that may come your way.
Know The Disasters Ahead
You may have an office in a small town, but you are not exempt from the reach of a terrorist with a plan. It would help if you remembered that you need to know what disasters could affect your business to prepare for them. For example, you cannot predict WHEN a fire would happen, but with an office filled with electronics, you know that it’s a risk ahead of you.
Get the whole team together and get their input about what could affect the business and take their opinions on board.
You want to be able to talk to your central management team to ensure that they understand the effectiveness of the plan in place.
Prepare The Basics
Whether you need new office buildings or not, you need to think about preparing the basics in terms of evacuation. If you have office buildings outside your main one to consider, you need a plan for each building. You can only develop the plans for your disasters according to the hazards which you have identified you at risk of dealing with.
Speak to the management team of the building about the building regulations, and if you own the building, then check out these health and safety tips to help you to get the necessary evacuation planning in place. It’s essential to think about routes that will be easy for all.
You should consider a plan for flooding, fire, tornado, earthquake (if you are in a prone area), and terrorism.
Once you’ve got those plans in place, you need to plan evacuation routes, locations to meet after the evacuation, what to do to stay safe once evacuated, and the training you need to give to your staff to ensure that everyone knows what to do. It would help if you had fire drills and evacuation drills regularly.
It will also help to have a kit off-site for necessities after you evacuate. Your whole team from top to bottom needs to know what to do in the emergency situation as it presents itself. Training courses are going to be a good start!
Within your company, you need to be able to nominate other people who can lead groups of those to the right location during a disaster.
If you have an office building to worry about, then it stands to reason to have one person for each floor looking after the individuals on that level.
Each time you hold a training event, make sure that people are aware of who to approach if there is a hint of a disaster happening. They will be assigned a key role, so make sure that you choose someone trustworthy.
Some of the people you will need outside at the evacuation point include:
- A coordinator to ensure that all critical steps are being followed
- Someone to count all office members. You want to headcount on the way out of the building if you can, and then headcount again when they reach the evacuation point.
- You should ensure that you have more than one member of staff versed in First Aid for in the building and at the evacuation point.
- It would help if you also had a designated staff member who is tasked with calling 911 and letting the first responders know what’s happened.
Make A List Of What You Need
If you are preparing for a disaster, you need resources. Fires require extinguishers, fire blankets, and flashlights. These should be around regardless of catastrophe. However, you should also have an earthquake kit if you are at risk of earthquakes; the same is said for hurricanes and tornadoes. You need to know that you have the right resources for an emergent situation.
Practice Your Evacuation
Your business should be one of the first in line for training and educational courses on how to act and behave in the event of an emergency. If you practice the office evacuation plan twice a month, everyone will be confident and calm should a situation come up.
Prepare to fail, and you fail to prepare for a disaster.
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