Small businesses do many things right – they’re nimble, creative, collaborative and offer great team atmospheres – but one thing is a challenge for every compact company: surviving a disaster. As many as 40 percent never open their doors after experiencing a flood, fire or severe storm. The key to weathering a serious disruption without going under? Creating an emergency plan in case of disaster.
“Just the process of creating the plan helps small businesses in multiple ways beyond disaster preparedness,” says Art Dickerson, Senior Vice President Commercial of Paul Davis. “The process often identifies deficiencies that need correcting, flags areas lacking safety items like fire extinguishers, promotes safety awareness and shows the company’s commitment to its employees and the future.”
If your small business would like to tackle the plan in house, many resources are available to assist including our Emergency Preparedness Plan for businesses. Health Canada offers a wealth of information, as does the Red Cross. Most comprehensive emergency plans feature five major sections, which are fleshed out by asking specific questions about your business, activities and location:
A vulnerability and impact assessment: What types of disasters could befall your small business? For example, is the office located in a flood plain or an area prone to wildfires? What aspects of the business itself present hazards, such as the presence of chemicals or high voltage? What are the major impacts that could occur?
A list of actions and procedures: What types of actions will be necessary to confront each type of disaster, and in what order will personnel implement them? Actions may include: sounding an alarm, shutting off equipment, rendering first aid, moving important inventory, evacuating, sheltering in place or calling for help. What are the exact procedures for implementing each action?
A list of available resources: What types of resources are available to enable required actions? These may include medical supplies, auxiliary communications equipment, power generators, protective clothing, firefighting equipment and employees with special training (such as medical training, firefighting experience and the like).
A summary of duties and responsibilities: Who will decide when the emergency plan must be implemented? What team members will assist the person in charge? Who is responsible for each action specified by the emergency plan?
A library of crucial information: What information is needed to implement the entire plan? This information may include contact information for all employees, emergency contacts for each employee, phone numbers for summoning aid, entities the company must contact in the event of a disaster (insurance carriers, fire departments, mitigation contractors), as well as maps, schematics and floor plans.
“Paul Davis experts are available to help most small businesses develop plans free of charge, so there’s no reason to be without one,” concludes Dickerson. “Further, we can help businesses train employees in emergency preparedness. And, of course, if your small business suffers a disaster, Paul Davis is always ready to mitigate and restore your business to normal as soon as possible.”
Call Paul at 844.215.7898!