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Organizing Your Office in NYC for Disaster Preparedness

Open for BusinessJust as preparing your home is a focus of National Preparedness Month, so is making sure that your NYC office organizing plan is in place so your business is ready to deal with disruptions caused by natural or man-made disasters. Disaster preparedness protects your business investment and gives your company a better chance for survival. If your business is behind on developing a plan to deal with disasters, now is the time for organizing your office in NYC. According to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, total losses due to weather in 2011 are more than $35 billion, and that’s not counting Hurricane Irene or this week’s Tropical Storm Lee.

The components of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Ready Business Campaign include:

Protect Your Investment

  • Organize your NYC office paperwork so that you can easily retrieve and review your insurance policies with your provider to be sure they’re sufficient to cover any losses resulting from a disaster.
  • Be prepared for extended utility outages and consider purchasing a portable generator to power vital systems. If refrigeration is key to your business operations, identify a vendor in advance to supply ice and dry ice.
  • Secure facilities, buildings and plants. Install fire extinguishers and smoke detectors, make site maps readily available and determine whether fire sprinklers, alarm systems or security guards are needed.  Have a plan for mail safety and teach employees to identify suspect letters and packages.
  • Secure your equipment.
  • Assess your building’s air protection against dust, debris, radioactive particles and biological agents.
  • Take steps to protect your company’s data and technology systems. Utilize off site backup options.  Regularly review this list of 10 Things You Can Do To Practice Cyber Security.

Plan to Stay in Business

  • Be informed – know what kinds of emergencies might affect your company.
  • Develop a continuity plan by assessing how your company functions, both internally and externally, to determine which staff, materials, procedures and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep the business operating.
  • Have an emergency plan for employees and communicate it through newsletters, your company intranet, employee emails and other internal communication methods.  Organize office paperwork in your NYC space so that written copies of all relevant documents can be easily accessed.
  • Determine which emergency supplies (including water, food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, extra batteries, first aid kit, dust or filter masks, plastic sheeting and duct tape, tools and a NOAA weather radio) the company will provide and what employees will keep on-hand.
  • Depending on the incident, you’ll need plans to shelter-in-place or evacuate.
  • Fire is the most common of business disasters.  Have a fire safety plan in place and make sure it’s communicated to everyone.
  • Prepare for medical emergencies by encouraging employees to take basic first aid and CPR courses and keeping first aid supplies in stock.  Ask employees to share information about medical conditions and keep emergency contact information up-to-date.
  • Take steps to prepare and respond to an influenza pandemic, including prevention and control measures, practices to encourage sick employees to stay at home and plans to keep your business running if several workers are sick or caring for ill family members.

Talk to Your People

  • Involve co-workers from all levels in emergency planning.
  • Practice your emergency plan through drills and exercises.
  • Support employees who may have special recovery needs following a disaster.

The Ready Business Campaign is a valuable resource for developing and implementing plans to help your business prevent, respond to and recover from a disaster. Here’s another resource that you can use to prepare. Be ready.

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