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plan For Continuity

  • Determine which staff, materials, procedures, operations, and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep your business operating
  • Establish procedures for succession of management; include at least one person who is not at the company headquarters, if applicable
  • Identify suppliers, shippers, resources and other businesses you must interact with on a daily basis
    • Develop relationships with more than one company in case your primary contractor cannot service your needs
    • Create a contact list for critical business contractors and others you plan to use in an emergency; keep this list with other important documents
  • Prepare for utility disruptions
    • Examine which utilities are vital to your business daily operations
    • Speak with service providers about potential alternatives and identify back-up options
    • Consider purchasing portable generators to power vital aspects of your business; never use a generator inside
    • Plan a secondary means of accessing the internet if it is vital to your companys daily operations
    • If food storage or refrigeration is an issue for your business, identify a vendor that sells ice and dry ice in case you cannot use refrigeration equipment
  • Plan what you will do if your building, plant, or store is not accessible
    • Consider if you can run the business from a different location or from your home
    • Develop relationships with other companies to use their facilities
  • Plan for payroll continuity
  • Decide who should participate in putting together your emergency plan
    • Include co-workers from all levels in planning and as active members of the emergency management team
    • Consider a broad cross-section of people from throughout your organization; focus on those with expertise vital to daily business functions
  • Define crisis management procedures and individual responsibilities in advance
    • Make sure those involved know what they are supposed to do
    • Train alternates in case you need back-up or if the assigned person is not there or injured
  • Coordinate with others
    • Meet with other businesses in your building or industrial complex
    • Talk with first responders, emergency managers, community organizations, and utility providers
    • Share your plans
  • Review your emergency plans annually; update your plans when you hire new employees or when there are changes in how your company functions
  • Practice your emergency plans regularly
    • Evaluate and revise processes and procedures based on lessons learned in training and exercise
    • Keep records of practices and changes you make to the plans

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Emergency Response Plan

  • Learn about potential threats. Understanding the characteristics of an emergency and how to respond is critical to the survival of your employees and your business
  • Meet with your insurance provider to review your coverage:
    • Find out what it covers and what it does not
    • Understand your deductible, if applicable
    • Find out what records your insurance provider will want to see after an emergency and store them in a safe place


Encourage employees to keep a portable kit of supplies based on the guidelines given for individuals and families in ReallyReady America. In addition, assemble the following supplies:

  • NOAA weather radio and extra batteries: gives an alert when a watch or warning is issued in your area
  • Copies of important records such as site maps, building plans, insurance policies, employee contact and identification information, bank account records, supplier and shipping contact lists, computer backups, emergency or law enforcement contact information, and other priority documents; store in a waterproof, fireproof portable container both on-site and off-site
  • Flashlights or emergency lighting
  • Spare hard-to-replace parts or supplies; store several days supply off-site
  • First aid supplies; keep them accessible


  • Provide top company executives with all relevant information for the protection of employees, customers, vendors, and nearby facilities
  • Plan how to update customers on whether and when products will be received an services rendered
  • Tell government officials what your company is prepared to do to help in a recovery effort
  • Plan how to communicate with local, state, and federal authorities about emergency assistance you would require to continue essential business activity
  • Set up a telephone call tree, password-protected page on the company website, an email alert, or a call-in voice recording to communicate with employees in an emergency
  • Designate an out-of-town phone number where employees can leave an Im okay message
  • Provide all employees with wallet-cards detailing instructions on how to get company information in an emergency situation
  • Keep employee emergency contact information on file and up-to-date; store copies with other vital records


  • Develop a system for knowing who is in your building and keep a roster, including customers and visitors
  • Determine a chain of command with the authority to order an evacuation
  • Locate and make copies of building and site maps with crucial utility and emergency routes clearly marked
    • Identify and clearly mark entry-exit points on the maps and throughout the building
    • Designate a safe room and clearly mark its location
    • Post maps for quick reference
  • Plan two ways out of the building from locations throughout your facility
  • Establish a warning system; plan how to communicate the warning to individuals with disabilities
  • Designate an assembly site near your facility and another in the general area
  • Plan for people with disabilities who may need help getting out in an emergency
  • If your company is in a high-rise building, an industrial park, or even a small strip mall, coordinate and practice with other tenants or businesses to avoid confusion and potential gridlock
  • Include preparedness training in new employee orientation programs
  • Encourage employees to take basic first aid and CPR training; offer on-site classes
  • Do tabletop exercises with members of the emergency management team; discuss individual responsibilities
  • Conduct regularly scheduled education and training seminars to provide employees with information, identify needs, and develop preparedness needs
  • Practice evacuating and sheltering with all personnel; test procedures for accounting for all employees, visitors, and customers


  • Attach equipment and cabinets to walls or other stable equipment
  • Place heavy or breakable objects on low shelves
  • Move workstations away from large windows
  • Elevate equipment off the floor to avoid electrical hazards in the event of flooding
  • Install fire extinguishers and smoke detectors in appropriate places
  • Consider if you could benefit from automatic fire sprinklers, alarm systems, closed circuit TV, access control, security guards, or other security systems
  • Secure all the ways in which people, products, supplies and other things enter and leave your facility


  • Encourage your employees and their families to visit ReallyReady America
  • Include emergency preparedness information in newsletters, on company intranet, periodic employee emails and other internal communication tools
  • Talk to co-workers with disabilities about what assistance they will need
    • Refer to ReallyReady Disabilities for more information
    • Engage people with disabilities in emergency planning
    • Identify people willing to help co-workers with disabilities and make sure they are able to handle the job, especially if this involves lifting or carrying
    • Plan how you will alert people who cannot hear an alarm or instructions


  • Encourage adequate food, rest, and recreation
  • Provide for time at home to care for family needs, if necessary
  • Provide reassurance that families will be supported
  • Re-establish routines when possible; workplace routines facilitate recovery by providing an opportunity to be active and restore social contact
  • Offer professional counselors

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Be Informed