Emergencies can occur within the blink of an eye. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Ready Business Campaign is urging Nevada’s business owners and managers to begin preparing for the unexpected. Uncontrollable emergencies, both natural and man-made, affect Americans on a daily basis, but preparation is something that remains in everyone’s control.
If businesses are prepared to survive and recover from disasters, the nation and the economy will be far more secure. That’s why the Homeland Security and The Advertising Council developed the Ready Business Campaign. Ready Business is an extension of the successful Ready Campaign, designed to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to emergencies. Ready Business helps owners and managers of small- to medium-sized businesses prepare their employees, operations and assets in the event of an emergency.
September is the fourth annual National Preparedness Month, a nationwide coordinated effort sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to promote emergency preparedness. The second week of National Preparedness Month focuses specifically on business preparedness. It is the perfect time to get educated on this issue and take action. As the Director of the Ready Campaign, I encourage Nevada’s business owners to use these three simple steps that have been outlined by the Ready Business Campaign: plan to stay in business; talk to your people; and protect your investment.
Step One: Plan to Stay in Business. Planning to stay in business requires that business owners be informed of any emergencies that could affect their businesses. The type of risk assessment necessary varies depending on the industry, size and scope of the company, as well as geographic area. Here are a few of the important actions that can be taken in planning to stay in business before, during and after an emergency: determine which staff, materials, procedures and equipment are completely necessary to keep the business functioning; decide who will put together the emergency plan; make a list of the most important customers and decide how to serve them during and after a disaster; talk with employees who have disabilities; create an emergency supply kit; make an evacuation plan and review those plans annually.
Step Two: Talk to Your People. Proper communication is one of the most critical components of any business, and it is no different when it comes to emergency preparedness. Use newsletters, staff meetings and other internal communication tools to involve staff in the planning process and educate them on the business’ emergency plan. In addition, practicing the plan with employees may be the most effective way to reiterate the importance of having a plan. Emergency drills will help everyone to prepare and stay calm in the event of a real emergency.
Step Three: Protect Your Investment. Another important step in preparing a business includes safeguarding the company’s assets. Here are some tips that the Ready Business Campaign recommends: review insurance coverage, prepare for utility disruptions such as electricity or gas, secure the facility with fire extinguishers and smoke alarms and improve cyber security.
For more information on how your business can prepare and National Preparedness Month, visit www.ready.gov. These resources offer a wealth of information on how to safeguard businesses and families, including free brochures and downloadable educational videos.