How to Prepare Your Business and Staff for an Earthquake

How to Prepare Your Business and Staff for an Earthquake

How to Prepare Your Business and Staff for an Earthquake

Preparing a business for an earthquake does share some similarities with preparing a residence, but planning and delegation are typically done on a much larger scale. The planning stages primarily need to account for personnel safety, but there should also be contingencies to protect the equipment and bottom line of the business.

Assigning Roles/Training

Everyone should know what they're supposed to do and when they're supposed to do it. Unfortunately, there's often confusion in the midst of a natural disaster, and this is true even if there has been a lot of discussion before the event. For example, if both the primary and backup person are unavailable, shuffling in another staff member is not always possible.

When it comes to preparing employees, it helps to throw different scenarios at them during an annual training. It forces them to confront urgent problems and react on their feet. Afterward, people can see how different decisions would have worked in a real emergency.

Creating a Checklist

Every business will have its own risk level, so it's important to identify where your company falls on the spectrum. For some companies, the risk is due to location. For others, it's related to their revenue model. If the firm's success hinges on being up and running daily, the room for error is small. Here are a few things to keep in mind while you're getting ready:

  • Consider your communications. Investing in a two-way radio can make it easier to connect the disaster recovery team in the case of a power outage or a crashing cellular network.
  • List out your hazards. Falling objects, cracked gas lines, and flammable items can be problems during an earthquake. After you've toured the grounds, you can start making a list of action items (e.g., installing more fire sprinklers, bolting furniture to the walls, or securing technology with hook and latch equipment).
  • Assemble a supply kit. If you cannot leave the grounds for any reason, experts recommend having enough emergency necessities (e.g., water, ready-to-eat meals, etc.) for at least three days.
  • Make clear maps. Everyone should know how to locate the fire extinguishers, exits, and utility shutoffs. Any restricted areas should also be marked off and easily identifiable.
  • Check your insurance coverage. Most commercial policies will include some protection against certain kinds of weather, but earthquakes typically fall into their own category. You'll need to check with your carrier about getting a separate section that covers earthquake damage. Known as a rider in the insurance industry, earthquake coverage is typically an additional contract with its own terms and conditions.

The statistics for natural disasters and business continuity can be grim. A small business only needs to lose a few thousand dollars per day before it's in danger of shutting down altogether. Following these tips can have a marked effect not just on how employees perceive the event but also on how the business functions during and after a disaster.

LinkedIn: The average small business that closes after a natural disaster loses around $3,000 per day. If you haven't practiced an emergency drill for earthquakes at your business in quite some time, you're probably due for a refresher.