Emergency Planning For Small Businesses
Emergencies like fires or gas leaks can happen anytime without warning. If you own a business, big or small, it is better to be prepared for the risks. Small businesses tend to follow less formal processes and have less rigorous business continuity plans. With more at stake, we shouldn’t take the possibility of hazardous events lightly. In addition to property and monetary loss, there can even be loss of lives in such scenarios. You should develop an emergency response plan to meet the specific needs of your business. Be prepared with safety products like emergency lights and fire extinguishers available at Amptec Fire and Security.
When considering emergency events, consider a broad range of scenarios. Be prepared for all types of situations like:
• Gas leaks
• Power failures
Before developing a plan for these, ask yourself the following questions:
• How prepared is your business to deal with emergencies?
• Which potential hazardous events can occur at your premises?
• What are the existing evacuation and exit routes?
• Are they well-lit and clearly marked?
• Are there any obstructions on the escape path, or is it wide enough to accommodate all the employees?
• Do you have any backup of your documents like account files, customer lists or contact lists?
• If the business complex was destroyed, how much time will it take to get back to work?
The first step in the planning process is to revise your floor plan to determine safe and efficient exit routes. In case of any emergency, the lifts might not operate as the power may go off; have multiple exit points to avoid congestion. Mark the routes with illuminated signs (functional in both normal and emergency lighting mode) and include wheelchair-accessible exits. The paths should be away from storerooms containing hazardous equipment or materials. Any door or passage which does not lead outside should be marked with a ‘No Exit’ sign. Designate a common meeting place where everyone can assemble if needed. Maintain an emergency contact list with the numbers of firefighters, hospitals, ambulances and insurance agents. Store a copy offsite too. You can also include contact numbers of family members of employees who can be contacted in case of accidents.
Restoration of your facility may take a few days. You can plan for an alternative site work-site to avoid losing business to your competitors. Your documents and computer data are valuable; backups are essential for business continuity. Include details like the model number, serial number and equipment or software costs required for insurance claims. You can store the back-ups at climate and fire-protected storage units in a different area from yours. If you have a small number of records, you can store them in a bank-safe deposit box. Keep updating them regularly.
With adequate insurance, you may cover most of the losses suffered in a disaster. You can also set aside a sum of money for catastrophes and emergency recoveries.
The emergency plan should be simple and list the critical steps to be taken and by whom. Just having a plan is not enough. You must document it and distribute it to your employees or building occupants. Reinforce the floor plan and escape routes with graphics and posters. Monitoring the effectiveness of the plan is equally important. Rehearse the evacuation through regular drills, and don’t miss updating your plan with any changes to your building or floor. Test the safety equipment like fire extinguishers and emergency lights at least once a month.
Emergency services like fire, police and medical will take time to arrive after a disaster strikes. A complete first-aid kit should be available for all the employees. Regular training on administering first aid to people in need is valuable and can even save lives. As employees are the most valuable asset of any business, you can also provide them with services like:
• Counselling to recover from trauma
• Flexible work hours
• Care packages
Check out the range of building safety products and services available at Amptec Fire and Security and ready your facility for emergencies. With our 24/7 security monitoring systems, ensure your business is well protected at all times. Contact us or schedule an appointment today to learn more about our products and services.