Tips to Set Up an Emergency Plan for Small Businesses

By Leona Harrison

As a small business owner, you have spent endless hours and put in a lot of effort to build your business from the ground up. However, all this hard work can be destroyed in a matter of minutes by an emergency or disaster. No business is immune to crisis or disasters irrespective of what niche you specialize in. Unforeseen events can wreak havoc on your business and either disrupt your operations or lead to the loss of revenue.

It is due to all these reasons why you should set up an emergency plan for your small business. You never know when disaster might strike, therefore the sooner you come up with an emergency plan, the safer and more prepared your establishment will be. If you are interested in protecting your enterprise from disaster and the unexpected, here are tips to set up an emergency plan for small businesses.

1. Identify Potential Hazards

The first step in coming up with a plan is assessing potential hazards that might affect your business. Examples include fires, explosions, weather, terrorism and even medical related emergencies. There are several factors that can help you identify potential hazards. They include location, demographics and historical records. For instance, if your small business is located in an area with a history of floods, then it is best you come up with an emergency plan for this disaster.

2. Develop Emergency Scenarios

Now that you know which disaster your small business risks, the next step is to come up with an emergency response for each one you have listed. Depending on the disaster, you might require to evacuate or shelter inside. Ensure that you note accordingly the best course of action to take in case of emergencies.

You need to come up with a policy that will direct your employees and clients regarding evacuation routes, assembling point amongst other things. Having developed emergency scenarios share this information with relevant publics such as employees and customers. The laid out procedures need to be pinned strategically on a wall and should be visible to everyone accessing the premises.

3. Come Up with Reliable and Effective Communication Strategies

At times, a business may have an excellent emergency plan in place. The problem usually comes in when it’s time to communicate the plan to those who might be affected. In disasters such as hurricanes and fires, you need to have the right communication strategies that will ensure relevant information is sent to concerned individuals.

To achieve this, you will need to have an emergency contact list. This should contain phone numbers of the nearest fire station, remediation companies, suppliers, contractors and insurance agents. You also need to ensure all communication devices are charged at all times. You can also make use of group emails and messages during disasters so that you can send notifications to a huge audience in the least time possible.

4. Look for Emergency Fuel Service and Alternate Facilities

Some disasters might take longer for you to recover your premises. During such instances, you can lose a good number of your customers. To avoid this, when setting up an emergency plan, always have an emergency fuel service and alternate facilities at your disposal. For fuel service, this will ensure that everything keeps running when an emergency or disaster strike. It also gives your employees a place you stay when people are locked in. For facilities, these  are places where you can rent for short term and continue business operations until your original premises get remediated.

5. Have the Right Type of Insurance Coverage

Although you may not love the idea of paying monthly premiums to an insurance company, having insurance coverage for disasters allows you to recover faster from catastrophes. If you are running a small business, you may not have lump sums of money lying around at all times. But with insurance, should a disaster strike, you will get compensation in the shortest time possible and get your business back to its fit.

There is no doubt that disasters can occur without warning. It is vital for you to take the necessary precautions to protect your small business. With an emergency plan in place, you can continue running your business without worry. Let the above tips guide you when setting up an emergency plan.

Leona Harrison is part of the content and community team at Specialty Fuel Services – providers of emergency fuel continuation services, in locations affected by catastrophic events.

Emergency plan stock photo by Ekaterina_Minaeva/Shutterstock