A crisis can strike at any time. Outrageous weather patterns have ravished the country—and the world—over the last decade, and Pittsburgh has certainly seen its fair share of storms. Whether due to torrential rains that cause floods or blizzards that whiteout the entire region, our residents have had their fair share of work-from-home days. Many business owners scrambled when COVID-19 swept the nation because they hadn’t implemented important tasks for business continuity in natural disasters.
Many businesses do not have a disaster plan and do not feel they need one. The most recent snowstorm that blanketed our country, however, should have been enough of a sign that companies should always prepare for the worst. Start implementing these guidelines today to keep your staff and business safe.
Steps To Develop a Business Continuity Plan
Create an Emergency Action Plan
While the point of a business continuity plan is to maintain operations after a crisis, you may not have a business left to run if you don’t implement an emergency action plan (EAP). The idea of an EAP is to determine how staff will deal with any given emergency. You should train your employees on proper protocol and run realistic drills so that you know how staff might react in an actual crisis. Your EAP should include who will manage, execute, and update the plan.
To create an EAP, start by accessing all the types of emergencies that could possibly affect your staff and building. Don’t forget to include satellite locations, which could be located separately from headquarters, and therefore face alternate or additional risks. Possible natural disasters to prepare your business for include:
- Power outage caused by lightning
- Damage caused by high winds
Pro Tip: Get acquainted with your local fire department and EMTs! Let them inspect your site so that they will be more familiar with it if they need to help during an emergency.
Form a Disaster Recovery Plan
The meat and bones of your business continuity plan is the disaster recovery plan, which details how staff will do their jobs in the event of a disaster. Your plan should guide staff who will need to work from home or work under hazardous conditions. If you will need to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) or remote devices, those items should already be on hand. Employees should be able to communicate with clients and access business documents, regardless of a natural disaster.
Your plan’s exact details will depend on the type of company you operate, and the level of action you take will depend on the damage’s severity. Other possible crises to be aware of in any workplace include:
- Active shooter
- Bomb threat
- Chemical spills
One of the most important tasks for business continuity in natural disasters is to keep your plan updated and your employees informed of any changes. This is not a policy that you want to set and forget. Risk factors change, and you can keep your business safe by staying ahead of the game with an action plan.