As much as you’re tempted to go on holiday after months of running a business, disaster events are never breaks to look forward to. Emergency business shutdowns may be necessary when storms, floods, earthquakes, fires, or even criminal activity hit your doors.
A number of Australian government websites have already listed a number of disaster preparedness guides for businesses of all sizes because of their concern. As you set up standard operating procedures for each scenario, you can use this checklist for coming up with the right response strategies.
For businesses with physical office spaces:
- Have a different response for every emergency scenario.
Disaster occurrences can be either elemental or man-made. When you have an office with a physical location, you should be gauging which scenarios your business could be more vulnerable to, and take necessary precautions to protect your office space.
- Take note of contact details for local assistance.
It is important to always have emergency numbers for hospitals, policemen, firemen and other emergency teams on hand. It’s easy to take this step for granted when everyone practically has access to this information on their smart phones or because of personal initiative. However, getting the contact information of safety institutions that are nearest to your branch and displaying them in the proper places could save you a lot of time in a critical moment.
- Invest in safety.
Even for small businesses, it’s extremely important to invest in equipment such as fire extinguishers and necessary alarms in case you need them. Nothing is worse than skimping out on these essentials, only to regret them when a fire breaks out just two corridors away. Even something as simple as an emergency exit sign could save lives when everyone is in a rush to get out of the building.
- Train your personnel.
Chances are, you’ll need a lot of team effort and cooperation if you experience a disaster situation at your office. Having preparatory drills and circulating your safety manual ensures that everyone knows your standard procedures, as well as how each employee can respond depending on their capabilities. Customers and bystanders might also need assistance in responding to the emergency, so make sure your team of employees can lead them.
For every business type:
- Invest in security measures and insurance.
Regardless of the kind of business you’re running, you will need proper security for physical assets, finance and even data. Preventive measures are always a good start, but you can also fine-tune your security responses when disasters are already happening. Make sure all of your assets are insured and determine whether you’ll be restricting access to certain business aspects in case of emergency.
- Set up channels for communication.
Whether it’s through in-store talkies or online (when employees are at home and cannot update you face-to-face), it’s important to agree on the use of a particular form of communication between you, your staff and the rest of your stakeholders. Be prepared to respond to everyone’s concerns with updates on your crisis level and how the business is handling them.
- Prepare for emergency cash flow needs.
Lastly, you need to make sure that you have access to back-up funds, or at least some cash on hand for dealing with emergencies. You will never know when you might be locked out of your own accounts because of the inability of surrounding offices to process your funds or security concerns.
These are just some of the things you should take note of in preparing for disasters and weathering them out. In an upcoming resource, myCEO provides tips on the next step to disaster management: making sure your business recovers after the storm.
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