Recently, both California and Australia have experienced serious wildfires. While California is slowly coming under control, Australia is still blazing.
Whether your business is in direct line of a fire or not, there are a few steps you can take to prepare for natural disasters. These tips are good choices for a business owner trying to take responsible actions to protect their business.
You need to be familiar with your surrounding landscape and understand what hazards could occur and affect your operations. You need to implement actions to reduce risk factors and develop a solid response strategy.
You should have good insurance coverage, know it's limitations, and what is actually covered and what isn't. That said, your business insurance is not the only factor you should take advantage of and/or address any issues.
First and foremost, you must practice fire safety. You can reduce your risks by having defensible zones around your business by having concrete or rock around your property and use fire-resistant materials on your buildings.
Even without a lot of resources, there are steps you can take to protect your facility. You should incorporate fire-retardant landscaping such as having aloe instead of palm trees and make sure your landscaping is well-maintained. Get rid of dried dead plants or materials that can easily catch on fire.
There are also other natural disasters outside of fires. Is your business in an area that can be threatened by hurricanes or tornadoes. Coastal flooding or earthquakes? Are you prepared for these disasters?
You must communicate with your employees and let them know the value of being prepared ahead of time both at work as well as at home. You must bring your employees into preparedness by letting them know your plans so they can help out in an emergency.
Get your employees on board for your awareness campaign and get them involved in carrying out actions and have monthly drills. During a natural disaster, be on the alert for effects from elements.
Do you have employees who suffer from asthma who would be seriously compromised by smoke? If yes, you need an evacuation plan that gets the most effected people out of harm's way first.
You should hold meetings for employees to learn how they can help out in a disaster at work as well as what they can do to protect and prepare their families for incidences at home.
You should encourage your employees to create a family preparedness plan that will help them turn to organizations that can give them resources for help and safety. They should make sure there is a plan in place should any of them become separated from the side of the fire the rest of the family is on.
In other words, are you training your team to be responsible for their behaviors? Have you discussed with your team about community threats and whether you are all prepared to stay safe.
Let's face it, there is an increase in extreme weather conditions and, almost everywhere, our infrastructure is not able to withstand extreme conditions. Businesses in California need to be prepared for power outages that Pacific Gas & Electric Co is using as preventative measures.
Businesses need to implement plans for blackouts whether working from home or using backup power such as a generator at work. All plans and strategies must include investments of time and resources.
Leadership must also come from the top, many of the requirements are often seen as anything but a priority. It is up to the owners or leaders of a business to communicate what they need done and allocate the resources to make it happen.
Being prepared for disasters is not something you can put off for another day. You must demonstrate responsibility from the corporate side while safeguarding your business, team, and community.
We encourage business leaders to spend a little time to create their plans, bring in your employees to help implement each action for an effective outcome for everyone and your community. The safer you make your business the more resilient you will be.