5 Ways to Prepare Your Workplace for a Hurricane
In response to recent hurricane and tropical storm activity, we want to share a few hurricane preparedness tips for your business. The best time to respond to a disaster is before it happens. Attention and effort now can prevent severe damage and help mitigate the effects of a hurricane-related disruption to your business in the future. For some businesses, hurricane survival and recovery planning is simply sound business practice; for others it’s the law.
The American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) recommends these five basic steps:
Develop a Comprehensive Plan
An effective hurricane survival plan should be written down and reviewed annually. For many companies, an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) is required by OSHA, so hurricane planning can be considered part of the EAP planning and should be reviewed each year. This plan should address policies and procedures for employee safety regarding hurricanes. Plans should include business continuity and contingency planning in the face of damage to the business’s facilities, policies for dealing with employees, customers and vendors, etc. OSHA suggests that some of the key elements of an effective plan are:
- Conditions that will activate the plan
- Chain of command
- Emergency functions and who will perform them
- Specific evacuation procedures, including routes and exits
- Procedures when accounting for personnel, customers and visitors
- Equipment for personnel
Determine Procedures and Individual Crisis Management Responsibilities
Identify which personnel are required to be on-site in the days surrounding a hurricane, as well as which personnel are essential to business function, whether required on-site or not. Be sure to communicate areas of accountability and responsibility for key personnel and how to perform their emergency-response duties effectively.
Coordinate with Others
Understand the hurricane response plans of other businesses in your area as well as police, fire department, hospitals and utility companies. It is also helpful to communicate with suppliers, shippers and with anyone you regularly do business with.
Communicate your hurricane plan with personnel; ensure understanding of roles, responsibilities and expectations for every employee.
Review and Update Emergency Plans Annually
Assess changes in your business or to the community that may affect your hurricane response plan and make the necessary changes each year.
For additional planning tools and information on hurricane preparedness, check out a few of our favorite hurricane preparedness blogs below: