According to www.ready.gov, up to 40% of businesses affected by natural or human –caused disasters never reopen.  Disasters affect more than just individuals and neighborhoods.  They affect entire communities, including businesses of all sizes.  National Preparedness Month is about being proactive.  Creating a concrete business continuity plan will aid in protecting not only your company and your employees, it will also maximize your business’s chance of recovery after an emergency or disaster.

There are 5 key steps in developing a business preparedness plan:

  1. Create Your Plan – begin collecting information regarding hazards and assess risks in your area. After collecting this information, begin examining ways to reduce such risks and prevent possible hazards.
  2. Manage Your Plan – work on organizing, developing and administering your preparedness plan to your employees.
  3. Implement Your Plan – this will include writing down everything you need for resource management, emergency response, employee assistance, information technology, business continuity, crisis communications, training and incident management.
  4. Test Your Plan – it is important to test and evaluate your plan before an incident occurs. This will help your business learn to conduct the different exercises effectively if/when a disaster occurs.  Remember to take notes on the different exercises you test in order to evaluate the effectiveness of your plan later on.
  5. Evaluate the Results and Improve on Your Plan – review the notes you’ve taken during the testing of your plan. This will help identify the areas of your preparedness plan that need to be improved upon.

Remember, your company’s preparedness program should be reviewed each year to ensure it meets the current needs of your business.

Resources: www.ready.gov; www.FEMA.gov