Common Mistakes Businesses Make When Planning for Emergencies
One cannot always predict when an emergency while occur, but one can be prepared for the worst possible scenario. To ensure the safety of people and resources, it is vital to have a tried and tested emergency plan
Hire the help of experts to prepare your people, business, and reputation by ensuring your staff know exactly what to do in the event of a fire, medical emergency, human-caused threat, utility and infrastructure failure, or severe weather. Prepare your staff to respond and recover effectively and efficiently from emergencies and disasters.
To help you avoid some basic errors that could prove to be costly, Get Ready has put together a list of the most common mistakes people make when planning for emergencies.
1. Believing that 911 agencies are just around the corner and will arrive quickly
The first mistake many businesses make is believing that 911 agencies are just moments away from responding and saving the day. As a result, businesses don’t spend the time and effort to develop a proper emergency response plan. Police, Fire, and EMS may take up to ten minutes or more to arrive at the scene in an urban center, high-rise, or rural area. Have an emergency plan established in advance. Many lives can be saved by actions taken and decisions made before first responders arrive.
2. Not separating policies from procedures
Organizations must separate policies from procedures, so staff have procedural checklists to follow based on their role and responsibilities. People don’t have the time to read a large policy document during an emergency. They need specific to-do lists or Job Action Sheets to easily follow and respond quickly. For example, staff are told to leave the building during a fire and report to a Staging or Assembly Area; Supervisors or Fire Wardens will check their department area and ensure everyone is out; Managers oversee the Assembly Area and liaise with the fire department upon arrival; Facilities/Maintenance staff will attend the fire location, if safe to do so, to try and extinguish the fire; they will also meet the firefighters at the fire control panel; Senior management will provide communications and updates to internal and external stakeholders. There are many tasks to complete to successfully respond to an emergency. Therefore, everyone needs their own specific checklist.
3. Not practicing their emergency response plans regularly
Once a year is not often enough. Staff may not have the confidence to use emergency equipment correctly, or they can’t remember the response procedures. Develop and implement a regular training, review, and practice schedule. We recommend setting aside at least ten to fifteen minutes per month to practice.
4. Lack of prepared crisis communications
Managing your business reputation and providing early and regular communications and updates are essential. Have pre-drafted and pre-approved communications ready for staff, customers, vendors, and suppliers. Send emails, update your website, and use social media. You need to communicate quickly – whether severe winds have caused a utility failure, or you are evacuating due to a fire alarm or bomb threat. Ensure your staff, their families, customers, and suppliers know what is happening, how operations/services will change during the incident, and what actions they need to take. Always inform people when situation reports will be updated and released.
5. Not conducting post-incident reviews
To make sure you can learn from your mistakes, creating a post-incident review process is crucial. Identify what went well, where your organization struggled, or improvements are needed. Remember, you can’t fix what you don’t measure.
6. Not developing a business continuity plan
It is critical to create a business continuity plan in order to maintain essential business operations quickly and seamlessly during and after an emergency. Organizations should have pre-drafted and pre-approved “Alternate Strategies” for managing staff shortages, utility failures, facility damage or disruptions, IT problems, cybersecurity issues, product/service operations, supply chain, financial and reputational challenges. By having a continuity plan, your business will have a better change to stay and remain open post-disaster and continue to operate to serve your customers.
To avoid these and other mistakes, reach out to the experts at Get Ready. We have partnered with the National Research Council of Canada to further develop our process-mapping platform and take our leading innovative technology to market in Canada and internationally. We comply with the standards established by CSA Z1600, Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, Accreditation Canada, ISN, and the Business Continuity Institute.
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