Business Emergency Preparedness
Make sure your business is prepared for a variety of emergencies.
Emergencies and disasters are inevitable, and recent disasters have shown how devastating these catastrophic events can be to businesses and local economies. Download the complete Emergency Toolkit for Businesses for checklists and other useful information to keep your business safe during a disaster.
Businesses that are prepared for disasters such as major storms, earthquakes, floods, fires, or hazardous materials spills:
- Are better able to survive disasters and protect their employees and operations.
- Play a significant role in their community’s recovery.
- Are more likely to meet safety and workplace regulations, including the provincial Workers Compensation Act and Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Regulations and the Canada Labour Code
Developing your Emergency Plan
Consider these items when developing your emergency plan.
Data and Documentation
- Check your insurance policy to ensure important business assets are covered in the event of a disaster.
- Make sure your emergency contact information is posted in your office.
- Back up critical business data and retain an off-site copy.
- Review checklists for building safety.
- Keep first aid kits well stocked and consider offering basic first aid training to employees
- Maintain fire extinguishers to keep in working order, and consider obtaining fire extinguisher training for all staff through Surrey Fire Service.
- Regularly check smoke detector batteries.
- Keep a properly stocked emergency kit in the office.
- Develop and train employees on a business emergency preparedness plan, including:
- Business risk analysis
- Crisis communications plan
- Evacuation and shelter-in-place plans
- Aiding employees or customers with special needs
- Discuss emergency plans with suppliers, service providers and other business network partners
- Consider contingency plans in case of utility disruption.
- Encourage employees to develop household emergency plans.
To ensure the safety of your employees, ensure you offer training and supplies for employees, familiarize all staff with your plan and make sure you account for any special needs of employees.
Ensure your building's safety by considering the different types of emergencies and the potential risks associated with your building. Following these steps will help you plan to keep your building and staff as safe as possible:
- If you manage building utilities, designate individuals to be responsible for shutting them off in an emergency if needed.
- Identify contact information for any inspection and repair professionals you may need after an emergency.
- Make sure building contents are properly secured in case of an earthquake.
- Identify alternate work locations in the event your building becomes severely damaged or inaccessible.
- Discuss with a professional options for addressing any structural safety issues regarding earthquakes, floods, etc.
- Keep property well maintained to ensure proper storm drainage, lessen risk of trees falling on structures/power lines, etc.
- Review insurance policies to ensure building structure and contents are adequately covered.
Evacuation Alerts or Orders
Some emergencies may make staying put dangerous. In such cases, it may be safer for you to evacuate the immediate area and go to family or friends or an emergency reception centre. The authority to order an evacuation can rest with different levels of government (local, provincial or federal).
Various methods will be used to advise residents and businesses in the event that emergency messaging is needed, including an “evacuation alert” or an “evacuation order.” Tools include going door-to-door (if applicable), in a patrol car or fire vehicle using the PA system, alerting the media (radio, TV, internet), and social media (Twitter, Facebook and website). Every emergency is different and people may be asked to evacuate to a specific location or shelter-in-place.