7 preparation tips for emergency business evacuations

Our thoughts go out to those who have been affected by the number of fires burning in our beautiful state of Colorado and to the men and women fighting on the front lines to contain the flames. 

A few months ago we posted a general blog about emergency preparedness.  Although evacuations from fire differ from other natural disaster plans, we thought it might be helpful to post some of our suggestions again for the business owner.  We hope you will never need to put into place these actions, but in the event you do, here are some tips:

1. Prepare a written emergency evacuation procedure that includes floor plans and indicate exit locations and supply and/or equipment locations. Communicate these procedures with your staff routinely during safety briefings.
2. Create an emergency kit that is stocked with general supplies and make it accessible in each building of your business. Include in this kit, contact phone numbers for medical treatment facilities in your area.
3. Designate a location for all staff members to report to immediately after an emergency is declared. Keep a staff roster with emergency contact information in an easily accessible location and account for all individuals by roll call to ensure safety and well-being of all employees.
4. Appoint an employee as your safety manager if you do not already employ someone in this capacity. Ensure that they review procedures and update deliverables at least a few times a year and as changes occur.
5. Stock bottled water and non-perishable food snack items in your emergency area. This can help extend survival in the event you need it when departing for a safe location.
6. Back up your computer files and client information daily or at minimum on a weekly basis.  Keep a backup copy off-site or stored in the cloud for easy access.
7. Establish a plan for how you will start up operations again after an evacuation.  Outline employees who are responsible for specific tasks and identify the location you would use as “command central” in the event of an emergency.

One can never expect plans to go perfectly when faced with a disaster.  However, consistent planning and review will go a long way if the need arises to set up shop in an entirely new location.