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National Preparedness Month

 

September Is National Preparedness MonthNational Preparedness Month is a nationwide effort held each September to encourage Americans to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses and schools.

 

The goal of the month is to increase public awareness about the importance of preparing for emergencies and to encourage individuals to take action.

 

During an emergency is not the time to learn what to do. You need to work to create a culture of emergency preparedness so everyone knows what to do in advance of a disaster. 

During a disaster, help might not be a phone call away; you need to be prepared to fend for yourself. Provide your employees with a first aid and CPR course so you will be prepared if a medical emergency presents itself. Have a stocked first aid kit and any emergency supplies that you feel might be needed.

 

How quickly your company can get back to business after a terrorist attack or tornado, fire or flood often depends on emergency planning done today. Start planning now to improve the likelihood that your company will survive and recover.

 

n      Continuity Planning: Carefully assess how your company functions, both internally and externally; determine which staff members, what materials and equipment and what procedures are necessary to keep the business operating.  

 

n      Review your business process flow chart if one exists. 

 

n      Identify operations critical to survival and recovery.  

 

n      Include emergency payroll, expedited financial decision-making and accounting systems to track and document costs in the event of a disaster.  

 

n      Establish procedures for succession of management. Include at least one person who is not at the company headquarters, if applicable.  

 

n      Make The Plan: Decide who should work on preparing you emergency plan. Consider a cross section of people throughout you company. Focus on those with expertise on running your company on a daily basis. This will likely include executives, managers and those with technical skills. 

 

n      Identify your suppliers, shippers, resources and other businesses you must interact with on a daily basis. You may consider having more than one business relationship per category in case your primary source can not service your needs if the situation shuts them down. 

 

n      Develop professional relationships with more than one company to use in case your primary contractor cannot service your needs. A disaster that shuts down a key supplier can be devastating to your business.  

 

n      Create a contact list for existing critical business contractors and others you plan to use in an emergency. Keep this list with other important documents on file, in a water-proof container and at an off-site location. 

 

n      Identify: Make a list of important customers and plan a way to serve them after the disaster.  

 

n      Plan what you will do if your building, plant or store is not accessible. This type of planning is often referred to as a continuity of operations plan, or COOP, and includes all facets of your business.  

 

n       Consider if you can run the business from a different location or from your home.  

 

n       Develop relationships with other companies to use their facilities in case a disaster makes your location unusable.  

 

n      Communication: Figure out how you will communicate with your employees after and emergency has occurred.  

 

n       Do you have a website they can check? 

 

n      Do you have an out of town phone number that they can call. Often, local phone companies and cell phone providers can be down for a number of days. 

 

n      Back-up: Keep copies of in a water and fire proof container and if possible a second set at an off site location. 

 

n      important papers 

 

n      building plans 

 

n       insurance policies 

 

n      employee contact information 

 

n      bank records 

 

n       customer and supplier information and  

 

n      computer backups 

 

n      Then:  Plan what you will do if your facility is inaccessible . Define procedures and individual responsibilities for post event. Finally, discuss the plan with your staff and practice what you intend to do during and after an emergency. Remember, as your business changes, you will  need to make adjustments to your plan. 

 

n      Plan what you will do if your building, plant or store is not accessible. This   type of planning is often referred to as a continuity of operations plan, or COOP, and includes all facets of your business.  

 

n      Consider if you can run the business from a different location or from your home. 

 

n      Develop relationships with other companies to use their facilities in case a disaster makes your location unusable.  

 

n      Review your emergency plans annually. Just as your business changes over time, so do your preparedness needs. When you hire new employees or when there are changes in how your company functions, you should update your plans and inform your people.  

 

 ASHI Authorized Training Center Member of the National Preparedness Coalition