How to Create an Emergency Action Plan
Are you wondering why you need an emergency disaster plan? After all, you might think that you’re fine as long as you have your stockpile and are ready to shut yourself in when disaster strikes.
If only it were that simple!
Having stockpiles is important, and you should have some preparedness items in your office and vehicle. However, having those tools alone isn’t going to get you through a disaster unscathed.
There are important things to consider before, during, and after a disaster, and one of the most important of all is certainly having an emergency action plan. Starting a plan now could save your employee’s life and your business.
To educate you even further, here is our guide on how to create one and be prepared for emergency situations.
Assess the Risks in Your Workplace
The first step in creating an emergency preparedness plan is to identify what types of disasters could potentially occur at your workplace. This will vary depending on the industry and location. Once you have a list of possible disasters, you need to assess the risks associated with each one.
How likely is it that the disaster will occur? What would be the consequences if it did occur? How well prepared is your workplace to deal with the disaster?
You should discuss your findings with your boss or another senior member of staff. They will be able to help you put together a plan to reduce the risks of a disaster occurring and to deal with the aftermath if one does occur.
Complete a Hazard Vulnerability Assessment
Consider all the possible hazards that could affect your employees, customers, and business operations. Once you have identified the potential hazards, you need to evaluate the risks associated with each one. This step will help you determine the severity of the hazard and the likelihood of it occurring.
The next step is to determine what controls are already in place to reduce the risks associated with the hazard. This could include safety equipment, procedures, and training. Finally, you need to identify any additional control measures that could be put in place to further reduce the risks.
Prepare Emergency Kits
You never know when an emergency might strike, so it’s always best to be prepared. Here’s how to put together an emergency kit for your workplace:
Start With the Basics
Start by creating a list of must-have items for your emergency kit. Essentials should include first-aid supplies, food and water, a flashlight, and an NOAA weather radio. From there, you can add additional items based on the specific needs of your workplace
For example, if you work in an office, you might want to include a mini-fire extinguisher and a supply of batteries. If you work outdoors, you might want to add extra sunscreen, insect repellent, and a first-aid kit for snake bites. Choose items that will be most likely to be used and that will be appropriate for the specific environment in which you work.
Don’t Forget About Communication Tools
When preparing emergency kits for your workplace, be sure to include communication tools to help everyone stay in touch. A couple of two-way radios or walkie-talkies are a good idea, as well as a charged cell phone and extra batteries. If you have a landline phone, include that as well.
Some kind of whiteboard or chalkboard can be useful to post updates and messages. And don’t forget the old-fashioned way of communicating – a whistle!
Gather Employee Emergency Contact Information
Gathering employee emergency contact information can be done through a simple form or spreadsheet that employees can fill out and update as needed. It is important to have this information readily available in case of an emergency.
Collect and Store Insurance Information
It’s important to have all of your insurance information gathered and stored in one place in case of an emergency. Start by creating a list of all the insurance policies you have, including the policy number and contact information. Keep this list in a safe place, like a fireproof lock box or safety deposit box.
You may also want to take pictures or scan copies of important insurance documents to keep on hand. In the event of an emergency, you’ll be glad you took the time to create an emergency action plan.
Establish Evacuation Procedures
If you are developing an emergency action plan, one of the things you need to do is establish evacuation procedures. This means you need to determine how you will get people out of the building safely in the event of an emergency. You need to consider things like exits and exit lighting positions, evacuation routes, and safe areas.
You also need to think about how you will communicate with people during an evacuation. This can include things like using a PA system, having a designated evacuation call, or using a signal.
Backup Important Data and Files
Back up important data and files of your employees and your business. This can be done by copying files to an external hard drive or cloud storage account.
If possible, store backups in a different location than the original files. This will help ensure that critical data is not lost in the event of a disaster.
Once data is backed up, create a list of critical applications and systems. This includes things like email, financial records, and customer databases.
For each application, identify a backup plan. This may involve using a different server or provider, or running a local copy of the application.
Test backup systems regularly to ensure they are working as expected. When a disaster occurs, move quickly to implement the emergency action plan. This will help minimize the impact of the disaster and keep critical business operations running.
Building an Emergency Action Plan
A well-crafted emergency action plan can mean the difference between a chaotic evacuation and a controlled, safe evacuation. Creating one should be a collaborative effort between management and employees. The plan should be well-rehearsed and reviewed regularly.
Following these steps will help ensure that you have a comprehensive and effective emergency action plan. If you think this article is helpful to you, check out our other blogs!