This is Part II of our two part blog series on emergency preparedness. In Part I, we discussed how to best safeguard yourself, your family as well as your home from dangerous situations. Now in Part II, we will explore how to protect your business in the event of an emergency.
What Is Emergency Management?
FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, states that “emergency management is the process of preparing for, mitigating, responding to and recovering from an emergency. Emergency Management is a dynamic process. Planning, though critical, is not the only component. Training, conducting drills, testing equipment and coordinating activities with the community are other important functions.”
Your plan can begin with an “All-Hazards” risk assessment.
Historical — What types of emergencies have occurred affecting the community, at this facility and at other facilities in the area? Examples might include:
- Severe weather, hurricanes, tornadoes, winter storms, floods, “natural disasters”
- Hazardous material spills
- Transportation accidents
- Utility outages / infrastructure failures
Geographic — What can happen as a result of the facility’s location?
Keep in mind:
- Proximity to rivers, streams, flood plains, coastline, seismic faults and dams
- Proximity to companies that produce, store, use or transport hazardous materials
- Proximity to major transportation routes and airports
- Proximity to nuclear power plants or military installments
Technological — What could result from a process or system failure?
- Fire, explosion, hazardous materials incident
- Safety system failure
- Telecommunications or emergency notification system failure
- Computer or software system failure
- Power failure/grid shutdown
- Heating/cooling and/or building support system failure
Human Error — Leading to a variety of potential emergencies
FEMA provides the “Emergency Management Guide for Business and Industry: A Step-by-Step Approach to Emergency Planning, Response and Recovery for Companies of All Sizes.” It is an extensive manual covering these topics for small and large businesses and organizations.
It is important to invest in a preparedness program. The following are some reasons to consider:
- Up to 40% of businesses affected by a natural or human-caused disaster never reopen (per the Insurance Information Institute).
- Employers must take the measures necessary to provide a safe working environment.
- Customers expect delivery of products or services on time. A significant delay may drive your customers to a competitor.
- Larger businesses are asking their suppliers about preparedness. They want to be sure that their supply chain is not interrupted. Failure to implement a preparedness program risks losing business to competitors who can demonstrate they have a plan.
- Insurance is only a partial solution. It does not cover all losses and it will not replace customers.
- Many disasters — natural or human-caused — may overwhelm the resources of even the largest public agencies, and you may find yourself on your own.
All business carries a certain amount of risk. Some of those can be insured, but for some risks, a preparedness program may be the only means of managing them. An Ad Council survey reported that nearly two-thirds (62%) of respondents said they do not have an emergency plan in place for their business. Does that include you? More information on planning, developing, and implementing your program may be found at www.ready.gov/business.
EI provides environmental, safety and occupational health consulting services to a broad client base. Our professional staff can offers services ranging from Green buildings, permitting, safety inspections, risk management and regulatory expertise as a part of your preemptive planning, to inspection and site remediation after an event.