An emergency action plan, or EAP, helps ensure that your business can handle almost any type of disaster that could strike.
Not only will an EAP mean that you are as prepared as possible, but implementing a plan provides a variety of other advantages. Evaluating your business in preparation for drafting an EAP will expose potential vulnerabilities you might not have considered. You can help your employees become more aware of safety risks and the importance of avoiding harm in the workplace. You can help minimize your legal and financial liability and give your business the best chance of surviving a worst-case scenario.
A disaster preparedness expert can help you evaluate your business and identify potential areas of concern, then help you implement the practical solutions you need for peace of mind and a secure future.
What Is an Emergency Action Plan?
In its most basic form, an EAP addresses every potential emergency that a business could reasonably expect. At one time, the list of potential emergencies could safely be limited to facility fires and natural disaster threats such as tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc. Today, however, the list of potential threats has grown exponentially.
Some of the most common threats that must be considered today, according the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, are human-caused risks )including accidents, acts of violence and acts of terrorism), technology-related risks, and pandemic-like illnesses such as COVID-19.
An EAP must also provide employees with clear procedures for dealing with each one. These procedures are referred to as protective actions for life safety, or PALS. In the case of a fire, for example, employees may be directed to evacuate immediately or, in some cases, you may designate specific individuals to use a fire extinguisher first. In other disasters, employees may be directed to shelter in place, shelter in another designated location, or go on lockdown.
Why Do Businesses Need Emergency & Disaster Preparedness Solutions?
We can start with an easy answer here: Because the federal government says you must have one. Regulations implemented by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) require virtually every business to implement an EAP. If you have 10 or more employees, your plan must be issued in writing.
However, the OSHA imperative is not the best answer to the question, nor the most important one.
The most compelling reason to have a comprehensive EAP is to protect your employees and keep them safe. No one should have to go to work afraid. By having a clear action plan for dealing with emergencies and disasters, your staff will feel both prepared and empowered to act, should the unthinkable occur.
The chances are also good that your commercial insurance carrier also requires you to have an EAP in place. In many cases, insurers have requirements that are more stringent than OSHAs, especially liability insurance carriers.
For example, your insurance company might require that you have a plan in place in case your company computer network gets hacked and valuable data or personal customer records get compromised.
Does Your Business Need an Emergency Action Plan?
Virtually every business should have an EAP in place today, even if you aren’t required to by law, government regulation or insurance company requirements.
If you have employees, having a comprehensive EAP in place not only helps ensure the safety of your staff, but it provides protection against financial and legal liability should something go wrong.
From an overarching perspective, however, the most persuasive reason to implement an EAP and other disaster preparedness measures is the future of your business. Consider how many businesses did not survive the Coronavirus pandemic – and how many more might still fail before we can return to normal. If you have the right plans in place, your business has the best possible chance of surviving anything that might strike.
Without a solid plan and the ability to carry it out, you could lose everything that you have worked so hard to build.
Is an Emergency Action Plan Enough?
As important as it is to have an EAP in place, this is only one component of a comprehensive emergency preparedness strategy.
You likely need to review your policies and procedures and make appropriate modifications. You might need technology solutions to support your plans, such as cloud-based data storage for records. You might need to make security modifications to your facility. You are likely to need training for yourself and your staff.
Finally, you should expect to conduct drills, wherein you and your employees practice established procedures for each type of emergency. Based on the outcome of these practice runs, you can evaluate the effectiveness of your procedures and modify any that might not be as effective as necessary.
Finding the Best Disaster Preparedness Solutions for You
If you’re like most business owners, the concept of designing and implementing an EAP and all the accompanying disaster preparedness measures probably feels overwhelming. Fortunately, you don’t have to tackle this daunting – but highly necessary – process on your own. Consider taking advantage of an emergency preparedness solutions provider. Before choosing a professional service provider, however, make sure you select the best one for your needs.
Like you and your team, your business is unique. Your emergency planning and preparedness needs are unlike any other, so don’t be tempted to accept a one-size-fits-all solution.
Choose an emergency preparedness expert who will conduct a thorough threat assessment and analysis and then uses that information to structure plans and policies and to guide any types of recommended training or exercises.
The emergency disaster and preparedness experts at Critical Path Solutions are committed to helping your business develop the resilience necessary to recover from whatever disaster might strike. We provide a unique suite of services that are tailored specifically to your needs and circumstances. We have a vast network of resources that allow us to assist you with virtually any type of potential threat or worst-case scenario.
Contact us today to learn more about how our comprehensive, real-world emergency and disaster preparedness solutions can help you be ready for whatever potential disruption might strike your business.