Can you remember the first time you were part of an emergency, either alone or in your household, and you weren’t sure what to do? Maybe it was a car accident, severe weather or maybe there was a medical emergency. You usually call someone, like your parents or someone you trust and ask them what to do before you act.
When you aren’t used to something, out of practice or have never done it before, response time is down, there is confusion and it’s a lot easier for things to go wrong. However, planning, training and practice can help everyone in your organization be better prepared for a crisis.
It is important for every facility to have teams devoted to emergency preparation, emergency response, business continuity and crisis communications. The teams should create roles, processes and plans that will centralize the importance of the care, health and wellbeing of all employees during any emergency. That team should also be in charge of making sure training is provided to employees to become familiar with safety, building security, information security and other loss prevention programs so everyone knows what to do when there is an emergency, or disruption of business operations.
Even though most people think it will never happen to them, the statistics show that it is quite possible your business will experience some type of emergency at some point. Your emergency preparation team should have plans and processes in place and prepare employees in case of the following, depending on your certain situation:
In 2017, on average, a fire department responded to a fire every 24 seconds in the United States, according to the National Fire Protection Association. A structure fire occurred every 63 seconds, a home fire occurred every 88 seconds, and an outside property fire occurred every 51 seconds.
- Hazardous chemicals
- Severe weather or natural disasters after hours/business continuation during office closure
Natural disasters cost the country $91 billion in 2018, according to a new report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
- Natural disasters and severe weather/employees onsite
2018 was the fourth-costliest year for natural disasters in history and the 2017 natural disaster season was worse.
- Active Shooter
According to the FBI, almost 60% of Active Shooter Incidents in 2018 occurred in businesses.
- Terrorism emergencies
- Data breach/ information technology disaster recovery planning
A report from cybersecurity firm Shape Security showed that almost 90% of the login attempts made on online retailers' websites are hackers using stolen data.
- Medical emergencies
- Shelter in place emergencies
- Workplace violence
About 2 million people each year report some type of workplace violence; however, 25 percent of workplace violence goes unreported.
Drills and exercises should also be conducted to validate emergency response, business continuity and crisis communications plans and to evaluate the ability of personnel to carry out their assigned roles and responsibilities. As they say, practice makes perfect.
Even though we all hope an emergency will never occur at your company, having the foresight to plan for them, prepare, put processes in place and have employees trained on what to do in case of an emergency will keep your staff safer and your business running even during difficult times.
Here are some public training resources to help you build and educate your teams dedicated to emergency preparation:
- OSHA Training Guidelines
- FEMA Continuity of Operations Course
- FEMA Emergency Management Courses
- American Heart Association CPR and First Aid Training Classes
- U.S. Department of Commerce IT Security Awareness and Training Program
- DRI International comprehensive guide to developing business continuity plans