On Tuesday, September 30, the Red Cross held its Rocky Mountain Business Preparedness Academy for companies and non-profits from across the Denver Metro Area. Attendees learned expert advice on emergency preparedness and response, risk mitigation, and security threats, as well as the personal stories of business owners’ flood recovery efforts following last year’s disaster. The most common theme of the day? Prepare, prepare, prepare. You cannot prepare too much.
So how can businesses prepare today for the next disaster? Share these 5 steps with the local businesses in your community!
1. Conduct a hazard vulnerability assessment. Identify the probability of disasters and how likely they would be to affect you. The Children’s Hospital of Colorado offers a free tool that helps you record this information and determine where your priorities should be for preparations.
2. Establish an emergency communications plan. Do you have suppliers who make weekly deliveries? Does someone rely on the delivery of your product? Do you have staff who commute to your business? What about your customers? All of these people must be notified in the event that your business is non-operational or cannot be accessed due to road closures.
3. Establish an emergency protocol for your employees. You may not be present when disaster strikes. Do your employees have the information they need to protect themselves and your business?
4. Arrange memorandums of understanding. These are non-contractual agreements made in advance between you and other businesses to ensure you are prioritized for those high demand goods and services following a disaster — think generators or restoration crews. These can also be agreements with businesses similar to your own that can take on some of your production while your business recovers.
5.Take time to drill. It will only take you 5 minutes to practice for a tornado or an active shooter, but those 5 minutes can go a long way in protecting you and your employees when that disaster strikes.
It is not too late to learn business preparedness training! Join Downtown Colorado, Inc. the Colorado SBDC Network, and the Town of Lyons on October 17 for the Business Protection Summit & Resource Day! Hear from Lyons business owners about what resources they used when recovering from the floods. Participate in an exercise to identify the risks to your business. Learn the ins and outs of insurance coverage. Find out what should be in your business continuity plan. REGISTER ONLINE TODAY!
Nancy Sprehn is the OSM/VISTA Community Assessment Coordinator for Downtown Colorado, Inc. During her year of service as an AmeriCorps VISTA, Nancy hopes to put her planning and placemaking knowledge to use while learning everything she can about the communities of Colorado.