Your corporate culture – does it include emergency preparedness?

It’s May, officially Small Business Month for 2014. The month begins with some good news: ADP reported that small businesses added 82,000 jobs in April. And NFIP, the National Federation of Independent Business, reports that its optimism index has reached 95, a level not seen since October 2007.

Good news is offset by grim realities

This good news is tarnished by continuing reports of natural disasters affecting business owners across the country: wildfires in Southern California, severe storms in the central states and the East Coast hurricane season is upon us. And as I write this, I am aware that this is the one year anniversary of the tornado that devastated Moore, Oklahoma in 2013.

There is no way a company can survive some of these disasters.

But every business can take steps to weather emergencies and prevent them from becoming disasters. The NFIB leads the way: “Emergency preparedness must be built into the culture of the organization.”

Build a culture of preparedness

Having a plan and practicing it goes a long way in building that necessary “culture.” (Fact is, NOT having a plan pretty much spoils it.) Many excellent resources are available online to help you create your plan—from FEMA, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Red Cross. Even NFIB has a good introductory article.

The best plans also have planned exercises. Everyone needs to understand the basics of emergency or safety equipment. In many cases, when an emergency occurs, some employees are absent. Others must level up to complete tasks that are not normally theirs. Once disaster strikes, there will be no time for training.

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Customize your business continuity plan

However, most of the generic plans don’t really go into the specifics that make the plan effective for your particular business!

To fill these gaps, we’re putting together a series of short videos. Each addresses a potentially “missing piece” of a typical small business continuity plan.

The first three videos can now be seen. They cover different aspects of Emergency communication in the business environment. In less than 16 minutes, you’ll get some sensible recommendations to use when services are temporarily disrupted, buildings are damaged, or your entire workspace becomes unusable.

Interestingly, just last week a report came out from Tinker Federal Credit Union, whose branch in Moore was hit by the Oklahoma tornado. One of his recommendations: “Improve on-site communications during a disaster.”