How Small Business Owners can Be Prepared for an Office Emergency
While no business owner wants a disaster to occur in their workplace, every business owner should at least allow for the possibility of a natural or man made disaster occurring and have a plan in place for how to react. An emergency response plan should be understood by your employees, and depending on the size of your staff, it may be prudent to appoint floor captains or designated employees who are charged with ensuring that their groups are aware of emergency procedures in the event of a calamity.
Know the strategic points within your location. In the event of a fire, business employees should know the quickest and safest ways to exit the premises, however in the event of a hurricane, they should not go outside at all but rather find a secure location within the building. Different emergencies will necessitate different responses, so being aware of all of the strategic points within an office location is important in order to be prepared for all scenarios. Once you have identified these strategic points, you may wish to create signage indicating where they are, and at the very least employees and managers should be informed of their location so that in the event of a real emergency that are aware of where they should be in order to remain safe.
Know what disasters are known to your area. Ideally, small businesses will be well equipped to deal with every kind of disaster, however, this isn’t always possible given the constraints imposed by time. That being said, businesses should at least have solid plans of action in place in order to deal with disasters that have a historical precedent in their areas. Usually a simple google search will reveal what disaster risks are native to a business’s area of operation so that they can be planned for.
Know where emergency equipment is kept. Knowing where fire extinguishers and first aid equipment are stored should be information that your employees receive during their orientation. Having a fire extinguisher on hand should be part of every business’s operating procedure, especially when there are multiple computers active or large server stacks present in the location as these can create electrical fires in the event that they overheat due to overuse or damage. First aid kits should also be on hand for treating cuts and scrapes, and those who have also gotten CPR training can use breathing masks, splints and even defibrillators in the event that they are needed.
Coordinate your response with your community. Nearby businesses and residential properties may be just as involved in the event of a disaster that effects your business. It may be in your business’s best interest to speak to your close neighbors in order to see what can be done in regards to creating a coordinated disaster response plan.
Photo Credit to Paula Lively on Flickr