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Start » strategy, how to write an emergency preparedness plan.
Every business owner should prepare for the next big emergency. Learn how to write an emergency preparedness plan using these seven steps.
A new emergency can strike at any moment, so your business needs to be as prepared as possible. The best way to do this is to create an emergency preparedness plan.
[Read more: How to Plan for Financial Uncertainty as a Business ]
Assess the risks that threaten your business
To get started, you need to assess the biggest threats to your business and its long-term recovery. Different types of disasters or emergency events can be worse than others.
Analyze the potential fallout from the following situations:
- An environmental emergency, like a flood.
- A global event, like the COVID-19 pandemic.
- A physical problem, like a break-in.
- A digital emergency, like a cybersecurity breach.
Complete a hazard vulnerability assessment
If your business operates out of a physical location, you should complete a Hazard Vulnerability Assessment (HVA). An HVA outlines any risk affecting the facility and day-to-day business operations. You’ll then rate these risks based on the level of probability and severity.
From there, you can conduct a business impact analysis. This assessment predicts the level of business disruption and can help you create a recovery strategy.
Gather employee emergency contact information
It’s important to have emergency contact information for all of your employees before disaster strikes. Gather and file this information in a single location where you can quickly access it.
That way, if an emergency happens, you’ll know how and where to reach your employees. You can inform them about the crisis and what you’re doing to manage the situation.
There is a type of insurance to cover nearly every risk your business might face, and the right insurance can protect your business from financial ruin.
Establish evacuation procedures
If you manage a brick-and-mortar business, like a restaurant or store, you need to outline your company’s evacuation procedures . Imagine various emergency scenarios and how your employees and customers can exit the building safely.
You should explain these procedures to your employees, and it’s a good idea to post them where customers can see them. If necessary, run a few drills with your employees so they know where to go and what to do.
Inspect nearby fire alarms, emergency lighting, escape ladders and any other emergency equipment.
Prepare emergency kits
You should also prepare at least one emergency kit and have it available for employees and customers. This emergency kit list is not exhaustive, but is a good start for medical and survival items you can include:
- Gauze and bandages.
- A flashlight.
- A warm blanket.
This emergency kit could be crucial if you or your employees must wait for emergency services to reach you during a disaster.
Backup important data and files
It’s essential to backup all business data and files. You should store all company data on a secure hard drive offsite. In addition, you can store data in the cloud, which when taking proper cybersecurity measures, can help protect your business against cybersecurity threats.
If you have physical files, make two copies. Store one copy at work and another copy at home. That way, if one location or the other is destroyed, you’ll still have the files you need to get your business back up and running.
[Read more: Guide to Data Management, Protection and Storage ]
Collect and store insurance information
Finally, make sure you have the correct insurance for your business. There is a type of insurance to cover nearly every risk your business might face, and the right insurance can protect your business from financial ruin.
For instance, if you own a restaurant, you’ll likely want to purchase commercial property insurance. If you’re an accountant or lawyer, you might need professional liability insurance. A licensed insurance agent can advise you on the best options for your business.
Make sure you store your insurance information in a place that is easy to access. That way, if an emergency strikes, you won’t be scrambling to locate this information.
[Read more: Ransomware: What Small Businesses Need to Know ]
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Business Emergency Response Plan Template
Every business should develop and implelement an emergency plan for protecting employees, visitors, contractors, and anyone else on site. An emergency response plan is a written document that enables business to plan for incident response and is included in part of a business continuity program. It should be drafted with known resources available, and include a process for assessing damage, protecting property, and minimizing damage and business disruptions.
More information on emergency response plans can be found at Ready.gov
Emergency Response Plan http://www.ready.gov/business/implementation/emergency
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Prepare My Business for an Emergency
Businesses can do much to prepare for the impact of the many hazards they face in today’s world including natural hazards, human-caused hazards or technology related hazards.
- Natural hazards could be a flood, hurricane, tornado, earthquake or a widespread serious illness such as the H1N1 flu virus pandemic.
- Human-caused hazards include accidents, acts of violence by people and acts of terrorism.
- Examples of technology-related hazards are the failure or malfunction of systems, equipment or software.
DHS/FEMA sponsors a resource called “Ready Business” to assist businesses in developing a preparedness program by providing tools to create a plan that addresses the impact of many hazards. The direction recommended is to adopt a standard for Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs called an “all hazards approach.”
Steps to Create a Business Preparedness Program
To develop an “all hazards approach,” DHS has adopted National Fire Protection Association 1600 (NFPA 1600) as the American National Standard for developing a preparedness program.
There are five steps toward creating a business preparedness program:
1. Program Management
- Organize, develop and administer your preparedness program
- Identify regulations that establish minimum requirements for your program
- Gather information about hazards and assess risks
- Conduct a business impact analysis (BIA)
- Examine ways to prevent hazards and reduce risks
Write a preparedness plan addressing:
- Resource management
- Emergency response
- Crisis communications
- Business continuity
- Information technology
- Employee assistance
- Incident management
4. Testing and Exercises
- Test and evaluate your plan
- Define different types of exercises
- Learn how to conduct exercises
- Use exercise results to evaluate the effectiveness of the plan
5. Program Improvement
- Identify when the preparedness program needs to be reviewed
- Discover methods to evaluate the preparedness program
- Utilize the review to make necessary changes and plan improvements
- How Do I - For Businesses
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The .gov means it’s official. Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.
The site is secure. The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.
Evacuation Plans and Procedures eTool
Evacuation plans and procedures » emergency action plan.
An emergency action plan (EAP) is a written document required by particular OSHA standards. [ 29 CFR 1910.38(a) ] The purpose of an EAP is to facilitate and organize employer and employee actions during workplace emergencies. Well developed emergency plans and proper employee training (such that employees understand their roles and responsibilities within the plan) will result in fewer and less severe employee injuries and less structural damage to the facility during emergencies. A poorly prepared plan, likely will lead to a disorganized evacuation or emergency response, resulting in confusion, injury, and property damage.
Putting together a comprehensive emergency action plan that deals with those issues specific to your worksite is not difficult. It involves taking what was learned from your workplace evaluation and describing how employees will respond to different types of emergencies, taking into account your specific worksite layout, structural features, and emergency systems.
Develop & Implement an EAP
Drafting an emergency action plan (EAP) is not enough to ensure the safety of your employees. When an evacuation is necessary, you will need responsible, trained individuals who can supervise and coordinate activities to ensure a safe and successful evacuation.
A disorganized evacuation can result in confusion, injury, and property damage.
Fight or Flee?
A fire is the most common type of emergency for which small businesses must plan. Evacuation plans that designate or require some or all of the employees to fight fires with portable fire extinguishers increase the level of complexity of the plan and the level of training that must be provided employees.
Chemical, biological, or radiological contaminants may be released into the environment in such quantity and/or proximity to a place of business that it is safer to remain indoors rather than to evacuate employees.
Fire, Rescue, Medical Services
Although most of us quickly move away from the hazardous environments created during emergency situations, a group of dedicated and well-trained professional emergency responders and medical service personnel are tasked with containing and mitigating these incidents, rescuing individuals at-risk, and providing medical assistance to the injured.
Employees must know how to report emergencies. Some use internal telephone numbers, intercom, or public address systems to notify other employees. It is important for employees to also notify the proper authorities such as fire, medical, or rescue services, if your company relies on this type of assistance during an emergency.
1 st Reporting
Emergency Action Plans Samples And 7 Great Tips For Leaders
Posted 13.12.21 by: Jeremy Shantz
Creating Emergency Action Plans isn’t as challenging as you might think. Most action plans are only a few pages at the most, and keeping things simple also makes it easier for your team members to learn and understand. Not to mention, people tend to retain items easier when they are straightforward and to the point, so we recommend making your Emergency Action Plan follow these same criteria.
An Emergency Action Plan is critical to business emergency mitigation and hazard avoidance protocol. Ensuring that your business meets the criteria for minimum regulatory requirements is merely the first step. It requires the creation of an Emergency Action Plan as a means of training team members to emergency processes and regulations.
Let’s look at how the Emergency Action Plan (or EAP) is set up and the sections that we can use to build our own, following the example provided. You can have your EAP up and running in no time, so stick with us, and by the end of this article, you’ll know exactly what you need to complete your Emergency Action Plans. Stick around after for the essential tips we’ve got to help you speed up the process and make it more efficient. We’ll start with what you need to include in your EAP.
Table of Contents
Emergency Action Plan Inclusions
Creating your EAP isn’t as hard as you might think. A simple method to creating one is to merely break it down into segments and complete each brief part.
According to the OSHA , you should include six sections in your EAP. We’ve broken them down for ease of EAP creation:
- An emergency reporting process
- An emergency evacuation plan including evacuation routes
- Team member accountability headcount process post evacuation
- Rescue and first-aid duties
- Critical operations procedures for final shutdown
- Emergency contact list
An Emergency Reporting Process
Every business is different, and many have various means of reporting emergencies. Various emergencies may also have different standards of reporting. For example, fire emergencies might require pulling an internal fire alarm. Or maybe it’s merely to call 911. As each business is different, the means of reporting may differ.
When creating your emergency reporting process, start with the most predictable emergency potentials and work your way out from there. Fire is a typical starting point, given its voracity. Here’s a sample of what a business might have in this section of the EAP:
Emergency Reporting Processes For Acme Company
- Fire – Trigger local fire alarm and meet at the designated evacuation point. Report to the regional area supervisor.
- Accident Causing Injury – Complete emergency first-aid or notify local first-aid trained team members. If applicable, call 911. If the injured individual meets the criteria for non-emergency treatment, provide transport to a medical facility as deemed appropriate and report to the local area supervisor.
- Chemical Spill – Place emergency cones around the area and retrieve the chemical spill kit. Follow instructions provided with the spill kit, utilizing the included personal protective equipment. Report spill to the local area supervisor.
- Machine Fault – Electrical – Immediately use emergency disconnect if accessible. If not accessible, place safety cones a safe distance from fault and call the local manager to turn off the power to the area.
An Emergency Evacuation Plan Including Evacuation Routes
Each facility needs to have posted evacuation plans. Most businesses use a printed map of the facility that shows the entrances and fire exits. Posting the evacuation plans in conspicuous locations throughout your facility will guarantee that staff is well-versed in evacuation exit points.
Here is a sample of what one of these posted evacuation plans might look like:
Team member Accountability Headcount Process Post Evacuation
With over $14.8 billion in property damage from the 1,291,500 fires in 2019, it’s no wonder that businesses wish to avoid adding to the statistics. Regularly scheduled fire drills are one way to steer your company in the right direction and avoid joining the statistic. ( source )
When you complete your evacuations, whether a drill or the real thing, you must have a process to count all people in the facility before evacuation.
Creating your team member accountability process must include guests, contractors, visitors, and employees. One of the best ways to achieve this task quickly and efficiently is to use a departmental breakdown for team members and assign a specific individual or department to include the guests, contractors, and other non-company personnel on-site.
Sample of a Team Member Accountability Procedure
Post evacuation headcount procedure.
Upon arrival to their respective department’s evacuation point, each team leader will maintain a headcount of all personnel, both company and otherwise, who were at the evacuation point. Upon ascertaining the headcount, the team leader will relay that headcount to the administration at evacuation point one. If changes to the headcount are required, the team leader will immediately notify the administrative department.
Rescue And First-Aid Duties
Rescue and first-aid duties will be proportional to the facility operations and potential incident types. In most typical scenarios, each team member is trained in their respective department’s emergency rescue and evacuation procedures, and members of each department are tasked with first-aid training. The first-aid training typically operates on a volunteer basis, but some companies may opt for appointed status if local legislation permits.
Most rescuers are also trained on how to write an incident report in case they face a rescue situation.
A sample rescue and first-aid duties section of your EAP might look something like the following sample:
Emergency Action Plan Rescue And First-Aid Duties
All employees will do their best to rescue anyone in danger within the facility as long as it is safe to do so. Staff members trained in first-aid procedures will administer emergency first-aid as required within the facility.
The rescue and first-aid duties section of any section of the EAP may not need to be highly in-depth. In truth, a simple process is often understood as simpler than a complex procedure. However, don’t forget to include any pertinent details required with your particular operations.
Critical Operations Procedures For Final Shutdown
Many companies with complex machinery or processes may require a more complicated shutdown procedure for safety reasons. Take a manufacturing process that utilizes flammable or hazardous materials. The safe shutdown procedure may require a moment or even two. In the case of a fire , we want to evacuate immediately, but you don’t evacuate something like a nuclear plant because of a small fire – leaving it to grow and cause more significant hazards.
Within your EAP, you must include the necessary operating procedures for your facility’s final and safe shutdown. The policies must maximize safety and strive to complete the shutdown procedure as quickly and safely as possible.
Here is a same of a potential critical operation procedure for a facility with a refueling station:
Critical Operations Shutdown Procedure
- Upon activation of an alarm system, you must clear the refueling station and the emergency gas valve closed.
- Upon initial gas shutoff valve closure, immediately close the secondary valves.
- Lock and shut the flameproof cabinet cover over the gas meters and ensure all fire shutters have closed fully.
- Exit the refueling station via the north or south-central fire exits and ensure the door closes behind you.
- Proceed to the department evacuation point and notify management of the completed shutdown procedure.
Emergency Contact List
The final minimum requirement for completing a good Emergency Action Plan is a list of emergency contacts. The contacts should include local emergency departments, supervisors, managers, or other personnel within the management team at your organization and any other specific emergency service providers such as private security, for example.
Putting Your Emergency Action Plan Together
In order to complete your EAP, there are a couple of best practices. First, we recommend maintaining a master binder or other copy of your emergency action plan. Second, it is best to provide your team members with multiple EAP copies and offer an initial training meeting on the core concepts.
Upon completing a general training session with your team, we recommend taking your EAP and specializing the training to suit each department’s particular set of operations. Set up routine refresher training and fire drills to complete the process.
7 Tips To Leading The Use Of Emergency Action Plan s
Having new processes for your team members can create challenging training scenarios. That’s why we recommend using a unified system to deliver and maintain your EAP processes and policies. But what happens if you have revolving positions or a large corporation? Training can pose a challenging task. Luckily, we have some solutions for you.
Tip 1: Use A Digital Reporting System
Delivering your training and EAP documents via a digital platform is one of, if not the single best, way to maintain, train, and utilize the core concepts of a robust EAP. Similarly, using checklists to help automate the process and keep your staff from missing key points is a proven technique for a complete emergency action plan process.
Tip 2: Make Your Policy Rewarding
So long as there is something to be gained (and perhaps even sometimes when there is not), employees will respond well to positively reinforcing processes. Implementing an EAP can help team members access training, certification, or provide other non-tangible benefits for having good processes in place; you will see your compliance rates rise quickly.
Tip 3: Inspect What You Expect
This technique will take diligence and consistency on management, but it works well if done correctly. The idea behind this ideal solution is that you have a defined period during which it’s time to go through all of the policy documents together. Not only does this create additional buy-in from leadership staff, but it also allows for a more natural review process on an as-needed basis.
Tip 4: Let Employees Take The Lead
One way to get employees invested in the safety of their workplace is to give them a voice in the emergency action planning process. Allowing individuals to have a say in what they feel comfortable with and where they think potential risks may exist can be extremely helpful in getting buy-in from your team members.
Tip 5: Utilize Technology Wisely
Technology can play an essential role in maintaining processes and implementing solutions during an emergency but beware of becoming a crutch. Using technology for things like checklists, recordings, or other documentation purposes is generally a good idea, whereas delivering critical safety information can often result in disaster. That’s why trusting a viable solution like the 1st Reporting app is a wise move.
Tip 6: Use Training Sessions Effectively
Employees need to be able to understand the EAP processes and be able to enact them quickly and effectively when needed. It is why using practical training sessions that engage employees is so essential. Allowing team members to ask questions and participate in drills can help ensure that everyone understands what needs to happen when an emergency does arise.
Tip 7: Keep It Fresh
Like anything else, it’s essential to keep your emergency action plan process fresh. Reviewing and updating documents as needed, conducting training sessions regularly, and utilizing different methods of communication are all great ways to make sure that your team is both aware of and ready for anything that might happen.
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33+ SAMPLE Emergency Response Plans in PDF | MS Word | Google Docs | Apple Pages
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