Assess Operations

  • Carefully assess how your company functions, both internally and externally, to determine which staff, materials, procedures, and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep the business operating.
  • Review your business process flow chart.
  • Identify operations critical to survival and recovery.
  • Include emergency payroll, expedited financial decision-making, and accounting systems to track and document costs.
  • Establish procedures for succession of management. Include at least one person who is not at the company headquarters, if applicable.
  • Plan for payroll continuity.

Identify Partners and Resources

  • Identify suppliers, shippers, resources, and other businesses with whom you interact with daily.
  • Develop professional relationships with more than one company to use in case your primary contractor cannot service your needs. A disaster that shuts down a key supplier can be devastating to your business.
  • Create a contact list for critical business contractors and others you plan to use in an emergency. Keep this list with other important documents on file, in your emergency supply kit and at an off-site location.

Plan for Business Inaccessibility

  • Plan what you will do if your building, plant, or store is not accessible. This type of planning is often referred to as a continuity of operations plan, or COOP, and includes all facets of your business.
  • Consider if you can run the business from a different location or from home.
  • Develop relationships with other companies to use their facilities in case a disaster makes your location unusable.

Involve Staff

  • Decide who should participate in creating your emergency plan.
  • Include co-workers from all levels in planning and as active members of the emergency management team.
  • Consider a broad cross-section of people from your organization; focus on those with expertise vital to daily business functions.
  • Include people with technical skills as well as managers and executives.

Define Procedures and Responsibilities

  • Define crisis management procedures and individual responsibilities.
  • Make sure those involved know what they are supposed to do.
  • Train others in case backup is needed.

Coordinate With Others

  • Meet with other businesses in your building or industrial complex.
  • Talk with first responders, emergency managers, community organizations and utility providers.
  • Plan with suppliers, shippers, and others with whom you do business.
  • Share your plans and encourage other businesses to set in motion their own continuity planning and offer to help others.

Review 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.