Plan and prepare for emergencies

Emergency management planning is more than just planning for natural disasters – it can help your business survive through any emergency situation. Know your business' strengths and weaknesses and put strategies in place to adapt it to any scenario.

Planning for the impact of an emergency rather than the emergency itself will give your business a greater chance of survival.

You can't prepare for all possible risks to your business, but some targeted research and planning can give it the best chance against the most likely emergency situations.

Research your local area for any risks that are likely to affect your business. Look into the history of the area – this can give you an idea of the pattern and frequency of natural disasters such as drought, storms, fires, and floods. It can also provide a history of criminal activities like theft.

Look closely at how your business operates and identify any areas that you can't do without. List all critical business areas/functions, the likely impact on your business if they fail and any current protection you have to help avoid a failure.

Keeping this information to hand can assist in an emergency by helping you quickly identify and prioritise areas that need your attention.

Research your business

  • Critical business areas - List what you can't do without. 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 be based on at least 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.

Research risks to your business

Document all of the likely risks to your business in a risk table to help you think through what could happen and what to do if it does. Your risk table should include the below fields:

  • Risk - Description of the risk and the potential impact to your business.
  • Impact - Rating of the impact to your business: High, Medium or Low.
  • Likelihood - The chance that the risk will occur: Highly Unlikely, Unlikely, Likely or Highly Likely.
  • Mitigation strategy - What actions will you take to minimise/mitigate the potential risk to your business?
  • Contingency - What is your contingency plan in the event that this risk happens?

What to do...

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