For the last two weeks, I focused on the emergency notification card - This falls under: SAFETY FIRST before we even consider discussions regarding Business Continuity or Disaster Recovery.
After 911, we identified that many people did not know who to call, how to handle emergencies in their office or home and most importantly, did not know how to communicate.
Please focus on preparing this emergency notification card. It is important for you, your family, your staff and your customer. For many customers, we have to prove that we are responsible. This is one way to do that.
After 9/11 we identified that it took an average of 3 months for the customer/client to find the consultants as there was no way to really communicate with them. I recommend that you take the first step - and ensure your safety and well-being by creating your notification card and presenting it to your customer and posting it in your office, home office, etc.
I will be creating a sample and will post it to my website so you can download and begin creating your own.
The next step, after the emergency card is your company Call Tree. As a small business, you say suggest that you do not have enough staff to create one — but your family is an important connection for you - should you need help or should you evacuate without ample time to inform them.
Part of this is creating your ICE contact in your address book. Your ICE contact (in case of emergency) is the person you designate that first responders call in case you require help or if they need to report on your status.
Be aware - that although many people feel that a passcode on their smartphone or phone is crucial in today’s security climate, note that not presenting your ICE information in your phone could potentially impact your ability for someone to communicate to your family on a timely basis.
One more point about understanding your building’s evacuation process and route. Many of you, no doubt, work from home and sometimes visit a customer in their building. Take a moment to review what you would do in your home office should an evacuation be required - from a physical perspective — or if you should have a fire emergency. Do you have your go kit (which we’ll discuss in a later post), a fire extinguisher? Notification numbers? Clear stairways?
Take the time to ensure you can deal with a fire or other in-house/office emergency and then what you need to do/have to evacuate.
I visit my customers sites from time/time. I always take a look around for the exits based on where I am in the building and I always ask what the evacuation route is. I do not want to go down one stairwell that is actually the up stairwell for emergency responders. As well, some buildings have painted their evacuation stairwells with a product that absorbs and then provides light during evacuation should the electricity go out. Make sure you know how to evacuate - especially if you are in a major part of the city that could potentially be a soft target.
Know where you land.
Some stairwells go to the street and some go to the lobby. This should be part of your criteria in creating an evacuation plan if your building manager has not already defined one.
Some main lobby entrances actually take you between buildings - and some to the street. Its a good idea to get the lay of the land — so you are comfortable and knowledgeable about a clear exit.
Why do we focus on SAFETY FIRST? Basically because if you can have the best tools, the best technology, but bottom line, if you do not have anyone to engage them, they make no difference to your ability to maintain a presence as a working business after an incident.
Take the time now to check these items under SAFETY FIRST. Your business will succeed during the most difficult of times.