It's hard to think about preparing for disasters and emergencies on nice, sunny spring days right before the May Long weekend. However, Mother Nature is quick to wreak havoc and the weather can change quickly. Flash floods happen in an instant and many areas have already experienced forest fires this spring.
The massive windstorm experienced by the residents of Vancouver Island right before Christmas demonstrated to us that even when we're preparing to spend holiday time with family and friends, we might find ourselves in the middle of a disaster. (For a reminder of the pre-Christmas 2018 "windstorm on steroids", check out this Global News link.)
Sybille Sanderson, the Emergency Program Coordinator for the Cowichan Valley Regional District, has outlined some considerations for businesses when preparing for disasters:
- Where do you get your emergency information from? (the news media? your municipality? social media?)
- Who is responsible for analysis and disseminating that information in your business?
- What criteria are you using to determine whether to stay open or close?
- Is your business able to operate without electricity? For how long?
- Do you have a generator? What is your fuel source? How will you get it replenished?
- What happens if you are cut off from the power grid and your generator fails? Do you have battery backup for your computer system?
- Are you considered to be a community hub or resource? If so, how will you sustain business in major emergencies or disasters?
- Does the Emergency Program Coordinator for your municipality or regional district know you are a hub or resource for your community? Are you tied into their emergency information notification systems?
- If you have to close, how will you let employees know if they're not already at work?
- Have you discussed emergency preparedness with your business community and considered how you might support each other in an emergency or disaster?
- D you have extra precautions in place for your busy season to ensure you don't lose out on key revenue?
- Do you have corporate emergency supplies for your employees in case they are stranded at work, or have to remain at work to implement your emergency response plan?
Organizations like EPICC and your provincial government have many resources for business preparedness. The more you plan now, the more likely it will be that your business will survive any type of emergency or disaster.
Stay safe this May Long weekend!