Your Business Culture – Does It Include Emergency Preparedness?

Fire - do not enter

Fire can destroy your business. Even if your premises aren’t destroyed, you may lose access for weeks.

Business continuity is a topic that I feel strongly about that.  If you house all your servers, computers, and documents on one site and a fire, tornado, or other disaster sweeps through, what happens to your business? If you haven’t engaged in any emergency preparedness, will you need to start from scratch? This article by Virginia S Nicols points to some resources you can tap and activities you can undertake to help ensure your business continues to run as smoothly as possible, given a natural or man-made disaster. – TCW

Your Business Culture – Does It Include Emergency Preparedness?

May was officially “Small Business Month” for 2014. May kicked off with some good news: ADP reported that small businesses added 82,000 jobs in April. And NFIP, the National Federation of Independent Business, reports that its Optimism Index reached 95, a level not seen since October 2007.

Good news offset by grim realities

This good news is dimmed by continuing reports of natural disasters impacting business owners across the country: wildfires in southern California, severe storms in the central states, and the east coast hurricane season just around the corner. And as I write this, I’m aware that this is the one-year anniversary of the tornado that devastated Moore, Oklahoma in 2013.

There is no way all businesses can survive some of these disasters.

But every business can take steps to survive emergencies, and keep them from becoming disasters. The NFIB points to the path: “Emergency preparedness must be built into the culture of the organization.”

Build a culture of preparedness

Having a plan, and having practiced it, goes a long way towards building that necessary “culture.” (In fact, NOT having a plan pretty much negates any chance of it.) Plenty of excellent resources are available online to help you build your plan – from FEMA, the Department of Homeland Security and the Red Cross. Even NFIB has a good starter article.

The best plans also have scheduled practice. Everyone needs to understand the basics of emergency or safety equipment. In many cases, when the emergency strikes, some employees may be missing. Others will need to step up to perform jobs that aren’t usually theirs. There will be no time for training once the disaster hits.

Customize your Business Continuity Plan

Most of the generic plans, however, don’t really get to the specifics that make the plan effective for your given business!

To help fill in these gaps, we’re putting together a series of short videos. Each deals with one potentially “missing piece” of a typical small business continuity plan.

Picture of emergency planning website

Website to access emergency planning videos.

You can see the first three videos now. They cover different aspects of emergency communications in the business setting. In less than 16 minutes you can get some common-sense recommendations that will apply if services are temporarily disrupted, buildings are damaged, or your entire workplace becomes unusable.

Interestingly enough, just last week a report came out from Tinker Federal Credit Union whose branch in Moore went through the Oklahoma tornado. One of its recommendations: “Enhance on-site communications during a disaster.”

Find out what that “enhancement” could be and what your business could be doing now to protect the premises, the people and the income that you all depend on. Links to the Video series, “Resilient Business” , are available at

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