Prepare and Protect Your Business

October 27, 2017
What could happen to your business is often unpredictable, but how you prepare can help you be ready for anything. The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce recently joined with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation to talk about creating safe, secure workplaces. Though this was planned before the heart-breaking losses in Las Vegas, it is a reminder of the challenges we can face helping our employees feel safe in an uncertain world.
 
“We see businesses as being the backbone of the community and they can’t tolerate interruptions. We want to make sure that we provide those resources for them in advance,” said Brooks Nelson, director of global resilience for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
 
Emergency preparedness and safety experts focused on three key issues to consider – and how to make a plan for your business.
 

Natural Disasters

Mother Nature may not give your business a warning before hail, flooding or a tornado impacts your business, but you can prepare to weather the storm. By planning for a natural disaster, you reduce the length of recovery and loss of revenue.
 
“Businesses need to assemble a planning team up front,” said Pat Williams, executive director of the Colorado Emergency Preparedness Partnership. “A long time in advance to actually sit down and walk through what their hazards are that they need to be planning for.”
 
Steps you can take:
  • Create a safety team to plan for emergencies
  • Assess your risks and know your hazards
  • Draft your emergency plan
  • Train and exercise your plan – make sure your team knows what to do when a natural disaster occurs.

Active Shooter

Statistically, it is unlikely that your business will experience an active shooter event, but it is important to think about what you would do if the situation arises.
 
“Active shooter events in a business are preventable and survivable, but the key is not to ignore the threat and to make sure that your workforce is educated and empowered to act,” said George Sullivan, director of preparedness and resiliency for the American Red Cross in Colorado.
 
Most active shooter events are finished in less than five minutes – you may only have seconds to take action. Having a plan allows your team’s reaction to become instinct and not second guess what to do.
 
Steps you can take:
  • Identify the warning signs of potentially violent behavior – if you believe someone is exhibiting warning signs let your manager or supervisor know.
  • Recognize when an active shooter situation is occurring – be aware of your surroundings.
  • Assess the situation and respond:
    ​Run – if it’s safe, evacuate the building immediately and get as far away as possible.
    Hide – look for a location that will keep you out of the shooter’s view, but don’t restrict your options for movement in the future.
    Fight – adopt a survival mindset and be prepared to do whatever is necessary.

Security

Making sure your business is secure is not only important for your safety, but also for your business’s success. Crime may be a factor in as many as 30 percent of business failures and workplace violence costs businesses $36 billion annually.
 
Here are the top five vulnerabilities a business can face:
  • Robbery and burglary
  • Liability
  • Employee theft
  • Fire and emergencies
  • Vandalism
“Don’t overlook the security threats on your business, “said Ben Piasecki, commercial sales manager of Colorado for Johnson Controls. “Make sure that you plan, test and have a policy and procedures put in place for their security – physical and cyber.”
 

Start Preparing Your Business Today

There are resources you can start using today to prepare your business for a potential threat in the future: the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Ready Campaign and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s safety and security quick guides.

With these tools you can develop the right safety plan for your business to ensure that no matter the threat your business and team may face. you’re prepared to face it.
 
[Editor's Note: This article was originally published by ColoradoBiz. To view the article, click here.]