Business Emergency Preparedness

While preparedness often begins at home, the business community needs to recognize that preparedness at the business level can mean the difference between barely surviving the disaster and surviving well!

Business preparedness comes in many forms and has many different elements, depending on the size, location, and nature of the company. At the most basic level it means creating an evacuation plan for employees and visitors. This should include creating a known means of communicating the need to evacuate, which can be as simple as someone walking down the hall announcing it, as low tech as blowing a whistle, or as sophisticated as a full building public address and alarm system.

Once notice to evacuate is given, employees should heed the direction provided and evacuate to a pre-designated evacuation area. Assigned staff should then sweep the building to be sure everybody is out, noting anything unusual in the process. After everyone is out, personnel accountability becomes the primary focus – is everyone accounted for? Be prepared to report your findings to first responders.

First Aid & Supply Kits

A business serious about preparedness will also ensure that some of the staff is trained in first aid and CPR. Don’t forget that lots of folks have such training as part of their activities outside of work. See if they are willing to assist in this capacity while on the job. Businesses should also evaluate their ability to provide for employees if they cannot leave the site for an extended period of time, such as during an order to shelter in place. Supplies should provide for basic needs such as water, food, and first aid, but should also include basic supplies to assist in disaster response, such as tarps, crow bars, work gloves, etc.

To assist with the development of basic business preparedness needs, the City of Brea offers regular Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) classes. This 20-hour national curriculum teaches participants:

  • Disaster medical aid
  • Disaster psychology
  • Fire extinguisher training
  • How to identify hazards in the community
  • How to put together an emergency kit
  • Incident Command System (ICS) basics
  • Light search and rescue techniques

All of these modules have application at home and in the workplace and are a wonderful way to start creating a culture of preparedness – wherever you are. View CERT information and the latest schedule.

Business Continuity Plan

Once basic preparedness items are checked off and complete, businesses need to turn their attention to what we call business continuity. It is a fact that more than 50% of businesses that are closed for one week or longer due to an emergency will fail within the first year following the event. An emergency might be something as catastrophic as “The Big One” or as simple as a power outage. Putting in place all of the processes that help you maintain your client base and meet contract requirements will allow you to be in the percentage of businesses that survive!

Steps to take for business continuity include identifying critical processes, maintaining off-site data back-up, developing partnerships with businesses who might be willing to assist in times of crisis, and creating communication streams for both employees and customers so they understand and can react based on the disaster at hand. Guidelines for creating a full Business Continuity Plan are available at Ready Orange County, a preparedness site supported by the cities of Orange County. Great business planning resources are also available at FEMA's Ready website.

The City of Brea takes emergency preparedness seriously, with a dedicated program in place since 1992. Relationships within our business community are a critical component of overall planning and preparedness and we are here to help you, your business, and your employees be prepared for the next disaster. If you would like to schedule a presentation on preparedness for your next safety meeting, want materials for distribution, or have questions about preparedness, please call the City of Brea Emergency Preparedness Coordinator at 714-990-7622. Don’t delay – prepare today!