Before a Disaster
Preparing Your Business
Queensland attracts thousands of visitors and residents every year. However, natural disasters and human hazards, such as floods, severe storms, cyclones, heat waves, fires, earthquakes and pandemic influenza, can potentially devastate our lives and lifestyles. Local communities and the business community in particular, have an obligation to prepare for these hazards and the potential for loss of life and damage to property that they represent. This preparation is referred to as emergency management planning.
A number of key activities to undertake for your business have been outlined below. You are also encouraged to check out the information available on the Queensland Government's Business and Industry website.
Emergency management planning however is more than just planning for disasters. It is actually an approach to business operations. A business should know its strengths and weaknesses and put strategies in place to adapt to any likely scenario.
Emergency management planning focuses upon prevention, preparedness, response and recovery. This enables a business to clearly identify risks and hazards, which informs the development and implementation of appropriate and tested procedures. This in turn minimises the disruption to business caused by an emergency or disaster situation and also minimises the impact of these events on staff, customers and property.
There are a variety of templates and guides available for download to assist with the development of an emergency plan (see Resources). Whilst there may be variations in layout and terminology of these guides, there are five (5) key sections commonly addressed by all Emergency Plans. These include:
- Risk assessment
- Emergency preparedness
- Response during and after an emergency
The following information provides a general guide to the development of each section of the emergency plan.
The first pages of an emergency plan should include the document revision history, the document distribution and communication strategy, and, outline any related documents. The introduction should also define the purpose of the plan and include a summary of the business' emergency preparedness.
This section requires the identification of the types of hazards and risks, and the probable degree of risk and exposure, posed to your business.
This is likely to be the largest section of the Emergency Plan. The section defines the business' continuity and preparedness strategies. The focus of these strategies would be risk reduction or elimination and would include the business continuity plan and the emergency action plan.
This section would address the response required both during and after an emergency. As a guide, response during an emergency would include building evacuation processes, medical supports and the roles and responsibilities of the business' emergency team. Immediately after an emergency, response would include life saving actions, damage assessment, notification and utilities.
To maximize the business' ability to recover from an emergency, the plan would generally address: the implementation of business continuity plans, damage and business impact assessments, communication, marketing assessment and strategies, financial impact assessment and business restoration requirements.
The best way for your business to cope with a natural disaster is to have a plan in place before it occurs. You can make your business more resilient by planning and preparing to minimise the possibility of damage, interruption and loss of business. The following resources have been provided from the Queensland Government's business.qld.gov.au website.
Identifying Disaster-Related Risks
Preparing for Natural Disasters
- Business continuity planning
- Preparing your business for natural disasters
- Preparing a risk management plan and business impact analysis
- Preparing an incident response plan
- Developing a recovery plan
- Business insurance