Emergency Procedure Overview
- $Start preparations as soon as possible
- $If possible and necessary, secure any exterior items of the office space; office windows should be secured with plywood, roofs should be inspected, and trees in the surrounding area should be trimmed to avoid building damage.
- $Make sure hard copy files are secure and waterproofed, but try to back up all information to a separate hard drive.
- $Computers should be covered with waterproof bags and secured with tape.
- $Forward business phone lines to an alternate number.
- $Ensure all mobile devices, tablets, etc. are fully charged and have access to them at all times. Charge a portable charger when possible.
- $Make sure staff members’ emergency contact information is on file and assist with evacuation plans if necessary.
- $After it is safe, assess any damages and file Insurance claims when possible.
- $Make sure employees are safe. Ensure no one uses elevators.
- $Have an easily accessible emergency kit with water, first aid supplies, flashlight, some rope, and other items. Every employee should know where this is kept.
- $Call your utility company to report the outage and in cases of immediate danger, 911.
- $Turn off and disconnect all large equipment to prevent damage.
- $Use a personal hotspot if available to finish critical work.
- $Keep doors closed on refrigeration devices.
- $After the outage, test the power first by turning on a light, and then turn on major equipment after 10 -15 minutes. Check the equipment and tally up any damages.
Fires and Evacuational Emergencies
- $As a precaution, always make sure first aid kits are fully stocked and emergency items such as fire extinguishers are up to date.
- $Stay calm. Assign someone to call the fire department or other authorities that may be necessary.
- $Plan and map routes of escape. Each employee should know points of entry and exit throughout the building. Designate an assembly area outside of the building for employees to gather.
- $Office chairs and cabinets can be used to break down windows or doors in case of blocked exits.
- $The only device that should be grabbed (when possible) is a small mobile device to stay in contact.
- $After the situation has settled, make sure all employees are accounted for and safe. Report any damages to equipment as well.
- $Check legalities according to the Fair Labor Standards Act. For exempt employees, you can require them to take a personal leave or vacation day. For non exempt employees, you are required to pay wages if the business cannot open.
- $Ensure that staff members have remote work from home capabilities. If road conditions make it unsafe to drive, notify the managing attorney and work from home.
- $Delay shifts to the afternoon when significant melting occurs.
- $Make sure to notify clients and employees if the business must close.
- $Wash hands frequently and avoid sharing cups and utensils. Wipe down surfaces.
- $If feeling sick, notify the managing attorney and work from home. Get tested as soon as possible.
- $See COVID-19 procedures for more details and follow CDC guidelines.
- $Consider adopting political risk insurance and check your business insurance policies to ensure damages will be covered.
- $Ensure that your business has adequate security, including an alarm system and cameras. Many times a loud alarm will deter rioters.
- $Board up windows and doors.
- $Ensure that staff members can work from home. If it happens suddenly and staff members are in office, stay inside in a safe area until the situation de-escalates.
Death/Incapacitation of Leadership
- $Take time to grieve and process this. Everyone grieves in different ways, so give adequate time and space to heal.
- $Integrator should take over leadership. If not available, then assign an interim leader until an official leader is designated. Follow firm succession plan. Locate passwords, financials, and any other critical information to run the business.
- $Notify clients, business colleagues, and other related persons.