Take Action to Prepare Your Business

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Ready Business

Preparing for emergencies is important, whether you run a public, private, community or nonprofit organization. It doesn't take a lot of time or money to make a plan and be prepared.

Follow the five steps below to ensure that your organization continues to operate during and after an emergency.

Step 1: Assess the Hazards

Lewisville is no stranger to emergencies including fires, severe weather, and telecommunication, and transportation disruptions. Consider how these emergencies may affect your ability to do business (e.g., a power outage may impact your ability to accept credit cards). Tip: decide which hazards are most likely to affect your business and plan for those first.
Learn more about the hazards that affect Lewisville

Step 2: Plan to Stay in Business

Planning before a disaster will help you return to operations more quickly. Start by taking the following steps:

  • Identify operations that are critical to business functions and recovery.
    • Determine which staff, materials, procedures, contacts, and equipment are necessary to keep your organization operating.
  • Make a list of your most important contacts/clients and plan ways to communicate with them during and after a disaster.
  • Coordinate with vendors, suppliers, and others you depend on to do business.
  • Keep copies of important records you may need to rebuild your business in a waterproof, fireproof, portable container. Keep a second set at an off-site location.
  • Review your plans annually. Just as your business changes over time, so do your preparedness needs. When you hire new employees or when there are changes in how your company functions, you should update your plans and inform your people.

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Step 3: Talk to Your People

Your employees are your business's most valuable asset. It's important to talk to your employees often about what to do before, during, and after an emergency. Set up a call tree, an email alert, or a call-in voice recording to communicate with employees. When creating a plan, consider your employees' special needs. You should also encourage employees to prepare for emergencies at home. Remember: one of the best methods to ensure your company's recovery is to provide for your staff's well-being.

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Step 4: Protect Your Investment

In addition to protecting your employees, it is important to protect your company's physical and virtual assets. Take the following steps:

  • Review your insurance coverage, and understand what your policy covers. Consider expanding your insurance to include coverage for direct and indirect costs associated with a disaster.
    • Examples of direct costs include hazard-specific property insurance (e.g., fire, flood), and data breach and cyber liability insurance.
    • Examples of indirect costs include business interruption/continuation policy insurance, business income insurance, and extra expense insurance.
  • Think about what equipment is necessary for the survival of your business and where you will obtain replacement parts if it is damaged.
    • Every organization depends on electricity, gas, telecommunications, sewers, and other utilities. Have a plan in place in case these services are disrupted.
  • Protect your data and information technology systems. Create backups of all your information and store copies somewhere safe.

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Step 5: Know How to Respond

Every business should have an emergency action plan. This plan focuses on alerting employees to an emergency or an evacuation, the method for reporting emergencies to local officials, and evacuation plans. Think about how to coordinate with others and meet with other businesses in your building or industrial complex. Plan to conduct evacuation drills and other emergency exercises together. Talk with first responders, emergency managers, community organizations, and utility providers. Plan with your suppliers, shippers, and others you regularly do business with.

Learn how to make an emergency action plan using the OSHA eTool.

If You Must Evacuate

  • Evacuation plans are specific to each building. If you are a tenant in the building, coordinate evacuation plans with your building manager.
    • All employees should have a Go Bag ― a collection of items you may need in an evacuation. A Go Bag should be packed in a sturdy, easy-to-carry container, such as a backpack. Learn what items to include in a Go Bag
  • Post maps of your building's escape routes in your business. Identify and label entry/exit points on the maps and throughout the building. Plan two separate ways out of the building.
  • Pick two places to meet: one near your business, and one outside of the immediate area. Make sure employees know where the meeting places are, and practice by having evacuation drills.

If You Must Stay

  • If it is not safe to evacuate, you may be asked by emergency officials to stay where you are, or "shelter in place." This may be as simple as remaining in your office or store while official’s clear hazards from the area. Learn more about how to make a shelter-in-place plan
  • Ahead of an emergency, make a supply kit that includes items you and your employees may need, including water, food, radio, flashlights, batteries, etc. Keep these items in an easy-to-access location. Learn what items to include in an emergency supply kit