Life is full of surprises, not all of them are good. With a little preplanning, you, your company, and your employees can successfully face an unexpected situation.
Regardless of whether your company is one person or a large corporation, if it exists in the office or in the field, you need to have a plan for when things go wrong. An Emergency Action Plan doesn’t need to be complex, but it should have at least the following six things:
- Notification – When a disaster happens at work, how will the employees, clients, and others be notified? This could happen by using a public address system, text messages, or even word of mouth. If you work with people who are not English speakers, be sure that whatever system you choose to use, is one they can understand.
- Assign Duties – Make sure that everyone knows their responsibilities when a disaster happens. Who notifies employees? Who is the back up if that person isn’t available? Who dials 911? Who ensures everyone is safe? Clearly assigning duties can create stability in a chaotic environment.
- Different Scenarios – Not all emergency situations are the same. Be sure to include information that at least addresses what to do in case of fire, medical emergency, or natural disaster. Again, it is important to assign duties so that people know who is responsible for doing what in each situation.
- On-the-job Training – Having you and your employees familiar with how to use a fire extinguisher and basic first aid can help in an emergency situation. It also can clarify whether or not a situation needs first responders.
- Evacuation – It is crucial that everyone knows how to safely exit the office or work area. It is just as important that everyone knows where the meeting area is.
- Practice, Practice, Practice! – Once your plan is finished, practice it. Make certain that you and your employees know and are comfortable with what to do when the unexpected happens.
It’s never to late to put together a plan, but don’t wait!