Calling all business owners! Are you prepared for a wildfire event to impact your business? Do you have a continuity plan? making sure that your business is prepared for worst is going to be the key to your own resiliency and our community’s ability to recover after a wildfire. Maintaining a resilient and vibrant business community will allow for those impacted to feel normal faster after the wildfire. You have a role to play and it’s easier to prepare than you may think.
What are the top three things business owners should consider when thinking about preparing their business for fire season?
Develop an emergency plan for your business that includes preparedness plans for disasters of all kinds (wildfire, flood, earthquakes, etc.) and share those plans with all your employees. Wildfire is the number one potential disaster for Central Oregon.
Make sure your business is following the Firewise guidelines for fuels mitigation around your structure(s). Contact your local fire agency or Project Wildfire for Firewise information.
Identify ahead of time what critical items you will take in an evacuation and know evacuation routes for your location for the safety of your employees and customers. Make sure to have multiple evacuation routes identified in case the primary exit is blocked or inaccessible.
Should you be thinking about insurance now?
Part of being prepared is setting yourself up for recovery after a disaster! Your business should always have adequate insurance to prepare for disasters. Talk to your professional insurance agent about your insurance policy and levels of coverage.
How should you prepare your employees?
Your employees are your number one business asset and they need to be fully prepared for disasters. As a minimum, they should have a 72-hour survival kit (Go-Kit) at the ready. Contact your local American Red Cross Chapter to have them present the “Prepare” program to all of your employees. The Prepare Guide can be also downloaded for free from the Red Cross.
Business Preparedness is such a big topic if someone hasn’t dived into this idea of resiliency, where do you suggest they start?
The free Ready Rating program from the American Red Cross is an easy to use online tool for any business to establish an Emergency Action Plan for their business. OSHA requires that any business with more than ten (10) employees have a written Emergency Action Plan. FEMA also maintains an online library for business owners: Emergency Preparedness Resources for Business.
Where can you find resources to prepare yourself?
In addition to those resources already mentioned, the American Red Cross has a free app for your mobile devices called the Emergency! App. The Emergency! App is available through the app stores and provides information on health and safety tips, emergency preparedness, disaster relief shelter locations, pet preparedness, and much more.
Each community in Central Oregon has a Community Wildfire Protection Plans that businesses can use as a resource for wildfire evacuation and employee preparation.
Every business should be prepared for medical emergencies by having some of the staff trained in CPR & First Aid. The American Red Cross offers classes covering those topics.