Businesses need to plan for emergencies
Business owners can go to ready.gov to find out more about the process of business continuity planning and download documents for free.
All businesses need a plan to prepare for and recover form a disaster.
Here are nine basics your plan should cover:
1. Develop and practice a contingency plan that includes a succession plan for your CEO.
2. Train backup employees to perform emergency tasks. The employees you count on to lead in an emergency will not always be available.
3. Determine off-site crisis meeting places and crisis communication plans for top executives. Practice crisis communication with employees, customers and the outside world.
4. Invest in an alternate means of communication in case the phone networks go down.
5. Make sure that all employees as well as executives are involved in the exercises, so they get practice in responding to an emergency.
6. Make business continuity exercises realistic enough to tap into employees' emotions, so you can see how they'll react when the situation gets stressful.
7. Form partnerships with area emergency response groups - firefighters, police and EMTs - to establish a good working relationship. Let them become familiar with your company and site.
8. Evaluate your company's performance during each test and work toward constant improvement. Continuity exercises should reveal weaknesses.
9. Test your continuity plan regularly to reveal and accommodate changes. Technology, personnel and facilities are in a constant state of flux at any company.