A top priority for any business should be the ability to weather an emergency or natural disaster with its employees safe and its property and intellectual assets protected. Knowing what a disaster preparedness plan (DPP) is and how to implement it can take some time, but an effective DPP gives your business the best possible chance of survival should a disaster strike.
Below, we'll give you steps to follow so you know how to write a disaster preparedness plan and implement it effectively for your business.
First, What Is a Disaster Preparedness Plan?
A DPP is a plan of action to prepare for and mitigate the effects of disasters. A good plan will mitigate the impact of a disaster on the business and its employees.
Disaster Preparedness Planning & Business Continuity Planning: What’s the Difference?
A disaster preparedness plan is one step in business continuity planning. Business continuity planning is the larger process of creating systems of prevention and recovery to deal with potential threats to a company. While there are differences between the two, many companies merge them into one plan.
Why Is a Disaster Preparedness Plan Important?
The Institute for Business and Home Safety estimates that approximately 25 percent of businesses don’t open again after a major disaster, which can strike anywhere without notice.
The good news is that most emergencies are small, and the effects can be mitigated with a comprehensive disaster preparedness plan.
How to Write A Disaster Preparedness Plan: Step-By-Step
- Gather Input From All Stakeholders
Stakeholders are a key part of any business and will be able to provide input on steps that need to be taken to ensure a business survives in a worst-case scenario.
Participation from all stakeholders is also vital when deciding as a leadership team who is responsible for what, and the decisions that need to be taken.
- Identify Internal and External Risks
Internal risks to your business may include fire, for example. If your business has a fire risk due to the age or construction of your building or building use (for example, manufacturing), you should acknowledge the risk and work to mitigate the chance of disaster by taking steps like:
- Having all potential fire-causing equipment inspected regularly.
- Ensuring there are smoke detectors that are functional.
- Making sure that all fire suppression equipment and infrastructure is up to date.
- Establish an Evacuation Plan and a Chain of Command
Should a real disaster occur, your priority is making sure your employees are safe. To do this, designate primary and secondary evacuation routes and exits for your employees. Make sure exits and routes are accessible, well-lit and clearly labeled/marked.
Have a clearly designated area where staff can congregate should they need to evacuate. Designate which staff oversee the evacuation, and make sure they have undergone the necessary training.
Determine a clear chain of command in decision-making. This can include having staff members trained in first aid and having specific staff responsible for contacting emergency services.
- Carry Out Regular Safety Checks and Training
If your business operations rely on any kind of equipment, get it checked regularly to make sure it’s in safe, working condition. Doing so minimizes the risk of a disaster being caused by an internal problem (like a warehouse, plant or factory fire).
You should also ensure that your staff members are adequately trained in health and safety best practices and are aware of what they should do in an emergency.
Ideas for this include holding regular fire drills and enabling your staff to take courses to ensure they are updated with the latest health and safety best practices.
No DPP? No problem!
If you don’t have a disaster protection plan in place, and you’re looking for assistance, the disaster remediation experts at your local Rainbow International are ready to help you plan for and recover from disasters. We offer disaster preparedness planning assistance as well as restoration, remediation and deep cleaning services throughout the United States and Canada.
Don’t wait. Call (855) 724-6269 or request an appointment online to get started.