Protecting your business is about more than insurance. It’s not fun to talk about, but real threats exist today that require us all to be more vigilant and ready to respond. There’s no reason to live in fear, but being prepared is the responsible thing to do for your own team and for your community. From fires, to hurricanes, to individuals who are armed and dangerous, training your employees to respond correctly can help keep them and your customers safe if the worst does happen.
Here’s what you can do to empower your team.
1. Bring in professionals for advice.
How equipped is your physical location to deal with emergencies? Ask your local fire and police departments to check it out and give you advice on how you can improve.
2. Develop plans and review them regularly.
Meeting OSHA standards is not a complete emergency plan. In case of natural or man-made disaster, your business needs plans on what to do before, during and after. These plans must include communication with each other and emergency services, securing the location and the people, property and information inside, and how to manage any incidents. Ready.gov provides helpful information on how to make a plan for your business.
Part of making a plan is knowing your internal resources. Find out if anyone on your staff has special skills, like first aid, CPR, has a connection who might be helpful in a crisis, like a cop or firefighter. Regularly confirm and update family contact info, emergency numbers, and any health issues for your staff regularly, within the legal parameters of what you are allowed to ask.
Outline your business’ expectations during a natural disaster for your team. Do you expect the, to be in the office no matter what? If people will be affected by school closures or difficult driving conditions, it’s better for them to know this beforehand. Some people assume any storm is cause for staying home, and some offices see a liability in having people come in. If people can’t make it, is there anything staff can do from home? Setting clear expectations avoids inefficiency and uncertainty in an already challenging situation.
3. Drill for fire, evacuation, active shooters, and lockdown.
Most of us remember fire drills from school, but most schools now do “lockdown drills” as well. Active shooter drills are also becoming common at government buildings and other large organizations.
4. Verbal de-escalation training
No one wants to scare their employees unnecessarily, but in the case of a threat of violence, they’ll be glad you provided them with access to verbal de-escalation skills. This skill may also come in handy when managing disgruntled or angry customers!
5. Basic self defense classes
Attending a self defense class as a group is empowering and is also a great team building opportunity.
In the case of any large-scale problem that affects you or your whole community, from fires, to storms and blackouts, to attacks, keep communication lines open. Post updates online on how your business is affected and how it will impact your ability to serve. Also spread the word on what you can do to help others in the aftermath.