While maybe not an everyday occurrence, a corporate emergency can have a significant impact financially, or worse, compromise employee safety.
Emergency preparedness is an absolute must for corporations, no matter their industry or size. Be it an accident or act of violence, or something out human control, such as a malfunctioning machine, decision makers need to be able to respond quickly and efficiently.
Communication is an essential element of any emergency preparedness program, and plays a critical role at almost every level. Ready.gov, a government website aimed at ensuring safe workplaces around the country, breaks down the development of a program into five steps.
The first step is to commit to making a program in the first place. This requires putting people in charge and establishing definitive, but attainable goals for the program. Further, you should find the regulations that establish the minimum requirements of a program so that you have guidelines to build from.
The next step the government recommends is planning for the various kinds of emergencies that may arise. Each potential risk warrants a different response and plan of action, so consider the various actions that are unique to reach one. The best solution is always prevention, so once you've identified all the potential risks, think of the best solutions to avoiding them all together and make sure that these best practices are understood by everyone.
Your preparedness plan is only as successful as your employees' understanding of it. As a result, employees should be properly trained in all elements of the plan. On top of this, you need to have a sound communications and alert system in place. As people continue to turn to mobile devices as their preferred method of contact, it is paramount that your notification system be able to reflect these changing preferences. You should also have different responses specific to each crisis so that decision makers take meaningful action in the heat of the moment.
Testing and improvement
The final two steps involve testing your program and finding places to improve. This involves running preplanned and unannounced drills, to test the preparedness of your team. Its also important to know how to evaluate the effectiveness of this plan so that you look for ways to improve. By creating and implementing a review system, you can ensure that are as prepared as possible for a potential corporate emergency.