Business & Employer Preparedness

Business and Employer Preparedness

If a business fails in an emergency, households which rely on those businesses will have difficulty recovering from an emergency. Businesses can take steps ahead of time to be better prepared to survive and recover after an emergency. Well-prepared businesses are crucial to ensuring our community not only survives an emergency, but also recovers and is healthy afterwards. A commitment to planning today can protect a business and give it a better chance for survival in the event of a natural disaster or other emergency.

Assess the risks

Know what kind of emergencies might affect your company, both internally and externally. Risk assessment can range from self-assessment to extensive engineering studies; the specific industry, size and scope of your individual company will determine your organization's needs.
  • Is your company at risk if there is a major power failure?
  • What kinds of risks would disrupt your supply chain?

Plan for business continuity

The best case scenario is for your business to be able to continue operating throughout the emergency and the worst case scenario is an emergency which closes your business. Plan to continue operations by making your critical operations stronger and safer:
  • Create back-up plans
  • Build in redundancy
  • If possible, simplify operations
  • Have a list of emergency suppliers for your business

Plan to respond

In an emergency, well-trained, confident and prepared employees will be able to respond.
  • Create emergency plans for each worksite, including evacuation plans and/or plans to shelter-in-place.
  • Hold emergency drills and exercises with employees.
  • Ensure you have emergency supplies stockpiled and employees have personal emergency kits.
  • In addition, if you rent, lease or share space with other businesses, share and coordinate evacuation procedures and other emergency plans.


  • Keep copies of important records such as building plans, insurance policies, employee contact and identification information, supplier and shipping contact lists, computer backups, bank account records, emergency information and other priority documents in a water and fire resistant portable container.
  • Store a second set of records at an offsite location.

Prepare for utilities disruption

What utilities are vital to your day-to-day operations? Be sure to plan ahead for extended disruptions of electricity, gas, telecommunications, sewer and water utilities.
  • Identify back-up options (generators, water storage, alternate power sources, etc).
  • Plan a secondary means of accessing the internet if it is vital to your day-to-day operations.
  • If food storage or refrigeration is critical, identify in advance a vendor of ice and dry ice and/or establish a partnership with another company which has refrigeration on backup power.

Have a crisis communication plan

Who do you need to communicate during an emergency or disaster with employees, public, customers, government, other businesses and/or immediate neighbours?
  • Be prepared to give relevant information to each, using a variety of technologies.
  • The phone system may not work; however, this does not necessarily mean the internet won't work.
  • You may have to resort to basic messages on paper if the other technologies fail.

Personal emergency preparedness

An employee who knows their family is safe is more likely to assist the business during the emergency.
  • Encourage employees and their loved ones to have a grab-and-go bag, home emergency kit, vehicle emergency kit, work emergency kit and a household emergency plan.
  • Consider how workers will communicate with loved ones should they be separated from one another.

Assist those with special needs

Do you have employees who speak English as a second language? Do any of your customers have a physical disability or are hearing impaired?
  • Plan how you will communicate with them and how you will meet their special needs in an emergency.

Know your insurance policy

Talk to your insurance provider about the impact of various emergencies on your insurance coverage. Insurance policies vary; they may or may not cover damage to your business facility/infrastructure, flood coverage or business interruption loss and deductibles may vary.

References and Links