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Since 2004, FEMA has recognized September as National Preparedness Month. During this time, businesses, schools, communities and individuals are encouraged to take time to prepare for emergencies. Ready.gov (a national public service whose goal is to promote emergency preparedness through public involvement) identifies five steps you should take to ensure your business has the best emergency plan in place:
1. Program Management
Your emergency program committee must be able to organize, develop and administer a successful emergency plan. The key to that is to have leadership, commitment, and financial support. You can find more information on Program Management here.
Make sure you are aware of all hazards and the probability they could affect your business. In order to do this, you should run a Business Impact Analysis. The BIA will help determine which business processes could be disrupted if a disaster strikes and what resources are needed to continue to be operational. You can find more information on planning here.
In order to manage the hazards you have identified, your business will need to have an emergency response plan, crisis communication plan, business continuity plan and an informational technology plan. In order to execute these, ensure you have trained your employees so they know exactly what to do during and after an emergency. You can find more information on implementation here.
4. Testing and Exercises
After you have a plan in place, be sure to test your program throughout the year. This will help you train employees, evaluate the plan and learn how to improve it. You can find more information on testing and exercises here.
5. Program Improvement
Hopefully, you will never need to put your program into action but if you do, take time to review it afterwards to address any problems that may have occurred. This will help you be even more prepared in case another emergency happens. You can find more information on program improvement here.