Prepare for Tomorrow’s Emergency Today

emergencyFor most of us, one day does not look much different from the next. We wake up at the same time. We take the same route to work. Maybe we take a coffee break around 10 a.m., followed by lunch at noon.

But what if something interrupts our routine? Not a traffic jam or a flat tire, mind you. Think bigger.

Fires, tornados, power outages and other emergencies can put your employees at risk and derail your business. In fact, up to 40 percent of small businesses do not reopen after an emergency, according to the American Red Cross.

Ninety-four percent of small business owners believe a disaster could seriously disrupt their business within the next two years, yet only 35 percent have comprehensive disaster recovery plan.

September is National Preparedness Month, a perfect time to prepare for tomorrow’s emergency today. Emergency preparedness plans vary by industry, but they should all address these five things:

Assigning accountability. Form a team of voluntary first responders (VFRs) that includes employees from across the company.

Evacuating. Establish mulitiple evacuation routes, and clearly mark them. And don’t forget a process for sheltering in place. Practice both processes so employees know exactly what to do during an emergency.

Treating victims. Your VFRs might have to deliver first aid while you wait for the ambulance . It is crucial that first aid kits, defibrillators and fire extinguishers be clearly marked, easy to get to and in good condition.

Reporting emergencies. If you stay calm when you call 9-1-1, your chances of getting prompt support increase. Calmly describe the emergency. Tell the operator the address where the emergency happened, and provide directions. Let the operator guide the conversation, and stay on the line until he or she tells you it is okay to hang up.

Getting back to business. Your employees’ safety should be your priority during an emergency. Afterward, work toward recovering and returning to business as soon as possible. Identifying core business functions and the employees who perform those functions is crucial.

Get more information

The federal government launched an emergency preparedness website at ready.gov. The site includes information on preparing your home and your business for an emergency.

Texas Mutual policyholders can also visit the safety resource center at texasmutual.com for an online video titled, “Disaster Readiness.” The video is available in English and Spanish.

This article originally appeared in CompNews, Texas Mutual’s policyholder newsletter. Click here for the unabridged version on page three.

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