Calamities. Acts of God. Natural disasters. Whatever you call them, they’re an unfortunate fact of life and something you have to prepare your business establishment for, especially if it’s in a location that is prone to hazardous weather or geological conditions. Failing to do so in a prudent and reliable manner can potentially result in tremendous financial and property loss that your business might not be able to bounce back from.
With that in mind, here are some tips to consider when thinking about natural disaster protection for your office or workplace:
Assess all possible emergency scenarios and plan for each one accordingly
No matter the nature of your business establishment, it should have a plan of action for every natural disaster or potentially catastrophic event that can occur. Each plan should focus on three things: getting your staff and customers to safety, securing any important documents or equipment (if possible), and minimizing the damage to your building and those in the surrounding area.
Depending on the natural disaster or calamity you’re planning for, you may be able to achieve all three, but for some events—especially the more serious ones like fires, earthquakes, or rising floodwaters—you may need to prioritize just one or two. Also, make sure that the plan you create is well disseminated to your staff. Allowing your people to undergo drills will be very helpful in training your employees to prepare for the worst.
Have emergency and safety equipment installed in highly-accessible and highly-visible spots
This doesn’t just mean fire extinguishers within easy reach of your staff, but also other essentials such as emergency lighting equipment (in case of blackouts or power loss) and first aid kits (in case of injuries). You can also think further ahead and have emergency caches of food and water in specific spots in your establishment, in the event of massive natural disasters that could result in food shortages—such as typhoons and earthquakes. Other equipment that you can consider are tools to pry doors open or to smash obstacles open with, like crowbars and hammers.
Mark evacuation routes and exits clearly
No matter the natural disaster, one thing that always remains constant is the inevitable need to evacuate your business establishment at a moment’s notice. You can help customers and staff find their way out much more quickly by marking exit routes clearly and visibly, as well as by having the exits themselves indicated with a brightly lit ‘EXIT’ sign.
Train your staff on how to respond to natural disasters and execute your plans of action
It’s very hard to give orders and instructions during a natural disaster because everyone is more prone to panicking and losing their heads rather than listening intently. To remedy this, you need to make sure that your staff knows exactly what to do during times of crisis, and this can be achieved through repeated emergency training drills. This may take them away from their jobs every now and then, but if it could save lives as well as protect your property, then it’s going to be a worthwhile investment.
Identify possible weak points in your property, and repair or reinforce them as necessary
Natural disasters like earthquakes and rain-borne floods can really test the integrity of a structure, so it’s important to make sure that your business establishment can withstand the challenge. Have experts and professionals look over your building for any potential weak points that could become compromised during a disaster event. From there, repair or reinforce as you see fit. Also ensure that all exits and evacuation routes have no obstacles that could potentially cut off people’s way to safety.
Every business establishment has a different way of dealing with emergencies. Whatever you decide to do, however, always remember that money and assets can be replaced. It’s your staff and customers who aren’t expendable and so they must be protected at all costs.