The word "Disaster" immediately brings to mind violence – of a hurricane or flood or earthquake. It's only on second thought that the actual impact of a disaster – no matter what its cause – becomes clear.
When disaster hits a small business with no emergency survival plan, the chances are it will mean total shut-down of the business – and job loss for everyone involved.
Even when a plan is in place, it may be missing a key component: being prepared to handle the employees' concern for the safety and well-being of their loved ones.
This concern is so strong that often even the most senior staff members – with major responsibility for mission critical functions – have been known to abandon the business altogether, struggling to get home to save family from imagined chaos or danger.
With key personnel gone, even though the building is still standing, the result can be the same – total shut-down.
Is there a solution?
After a career of working with small (and larger) businesses, and the past 15 years helping build and lead a local neighborhood emergency preparedness team, we think there is a solution.
In our opinion, the ideal solution is the coordination or even "integration" of communities. This can be achieved when …
- Company management, staff and employees have all been Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) trained.
- The company has built its emergency preparedness plan around the CERT model and these specially-trained employees.
- All employees' family members have been encouraged or even supported in getting the same CERT training.
The ideal extension of this concept would be for each of the employee's residential neighborhoods to also become CERT-trained communities – which we must acknowledge is an unlikely possibility.
Nevertheless the mere fact of knowing their families are prepared for major emergencies would enable employees to remain at their work stations longer, helping the company take immediate steps to protect important data and equipment to preserve the business – and their income.
It's a win / win if it can be accomplished. And even if only part of the solution can be implemented, the company will be in a better place to withstand or even prevent business interruption.
It all starts with emergency preparedness plans for neighborhood and / or business. Such plans are NOT difficult to develop given the many resources available from government sources and dedicated authors. But there's urgency to getting started now:
- Emergencies can and do happen. Without a plan, they can turn into disasters.
- Your planning has to take place BEFORE the emergency strikes.
New and inexpensive tools to make the process easy are available. Don't wait any longer to get started!