Develop your emergency action plan

Having an action plan in place can help you to think clearly in the event of an emergency situation and keep your business operating. Consider the following when developing your emergency action plan:

Research your business

  • Critical business areas - List what you can't do without to continue to operate. For example, people, suppliers, documents, systems or procedures.
  • Impact to your business if failed - Describe the potential impact on your business if this critical area fails.
  • Current protection strategies - What strategies do you have in place to minimise the impact on your business? For example, training employees in multiple areas of the business will reduce key person risk.

It might be useful to develop a number of scenarios in your plan. These scenarios should at least include your top three critical business areas. Developing scenarios can help you work out what to do when these critical areas fail and what resources you'll need to recover.

List your emergency contacts

Keep a list of key emergency phone numbers in a secure offsite location. These should include the local state emergency, police, fire and ambulance services. You could also include a list of recovery contacts such as your insurance company, bank or building society, employees, suppliers and any other key people.

Review your evacuation procedures

Your business should already have an evacuation procedure as part of your Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) obligations. Consider expanding your current evacuation procedures to include broader emergency scenarios such as a flood, bushfire or severe storm.

Create an emergency kit

Your emergency kit should include useful items and documents you may need in an emergency. Include items such as key documents, phone numbers and emergency equipment such as a torch, first-aid kit, portable radio, plastic bags and spare batteries. Keep this in a prominent place that is easy to get to.

Set up an emergency action team & communicate

Communication is essential when making emergency planning procedures. Consider allocating a person/people to be responsible for any emergency situation. Set clear roles and responsibilities and provide appropriate training.

Through your emergency staff, communicate all relevant emergency information to all your employees. Display your evacuation plan, key phone numbers and emergency supplies in a prominent location and let your employees know where to find it.

Rehearse your emergency management plan

Expanding on your fire evacuation drills to include larger scenarios will make you much more prepared in the event of an emergency. An emergency action plan will have little impact if there is no communication or regular rehearsal.

Keep your emergency management plan up to date

When you rehearse your plan you may find that there are missing elements or steps you need to change. This is your opportunity to ensure your emergency procedures are as efficient as possible. It's also important to update your plan each time you have staffing changes, or when you move to a new business location.

Emergency management planning can help you identify risks to your business, critical areas of your business and how to best protect them. It also covers continuity and recovery planning to help your business prepare for and survive any emergency situation.

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