Between the hurricanes, wildfires, floods, mass shootings, cybersecurity breaches and terrorist attacks, 2017 shaped up to be a devastating year with many lives lost and extensive property damage. While it’s impossible to prevent these types of incidents, you can prepare not only yourself, but your business for natural disasters, workplace violence and any other type of potential incident in 2018.

Here is a recap of a few disasters that occurred in 2017:

  • The California Wildfires – California experienced the largest and most destructive wildfire season on record in 2017, killing 22 people and causing damage to more than 5,600 structures including businesses and homes. Damage was estimated at $1.2 billion and 36,807 acres burned before it was fully contained.
  • Hurricane Harvey – Costing approximately $200 billion in damage, Hurricane Harvey brought in more than 40 inches of rain in a 4 day span. This resulted in the flooding of hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses, mass evacuations and rescues and a death toll that reached 88. Hurricane Harvey completely devastated Houston, Texas and recovery efforts are still ongoing to this day – with many people still displaced from their homes.
  • Hurricane Irma – Category 5 Hurricane Irma caused 7.4 million homes and businesses to be without power, resulting in the largest power outage the United States has ever experienced. Hurricane Irma’s death toll reached 102 people, with 75 of those being in Florida. 90% of buildings in Barbuda were destroyed, 6.5 million people were ordered to evacuate in Florida, 142mph winds hit Naples and damage reached roughly $300 billion.
  • Hurricane Maria – For Dominica and Puerto Rico, Hurricane Maria was the worst natural disaster on record and the 3rd costliest tropical cyclone on record with roughly $100 billion in damages. At least 547 people were killed, with some still missing. With widespread flooding, structure damage, power outages and vegetation eradication, many areas are practically wiped out. Even today in Puerto Rico, access to drinking water has only been restored to 45%.
  • WannaCry Virus – Racking up nearly $4 billion in losses and making an estimated $50,000 in ransom, WannaCry infected an estimated 57,000 computers over a 24hr period and stretched to more than 150 countries worldwide.
  • Route 91 Harvest Festival Shooting – From the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, a gunman opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest Festival, killing at least 59 and injuring more than 500. The shooting quickly became the deadliest in U.S. history.

These disasters are just the tip of the iceberg for 2017. With that being said, we are unsure what is in store for 2018 and it is crucial for businesses to learn how to best prepare their business and employees on how to respond to any type of disaster – big or small.

Using the All-Hazards Approach is a great way you can protect your business from any type of disaster. (The All-Hazards Approach focuses on the type of loss, rather than the incident. Loss of facility, loss or failure of information technology, reduced workforce and reputational events are the main types of losses that businesses face during an incident.)  This approach ensures that all of your bases are covered. Additionally, using this approach ensures you do more than meet OSHA’s minimum requirements.

Here are a few additional tips on how to improve your business’ EAP and help prepare for any type of disaster you may face in 2018:

  • Train Employees – Make sure your employees, tenants, and students or staff complete training on how to handle emergency situations. The old saying goes, ‘You can never be too prepared.” It’s quite true. During an emergency, people tend to “freeze up” causing them to make mistakes. The majority of additional damages during a crisis are caused by human error. By implementing training, you can help to mitigate that risk.

Learn about the interactive, online-based training courses offered by Preparis here.

  • Test Your Emergency Notification System – I say “test” your emergency notification system with the hope that you already have one in place. If you don’t, you should implement one as soon as possible. Emergency notification is a crucial aspect of emergency preparedness. It enables you to easily and efficiently communicate with employees, tenants or whoever else you need to contact during an emergency. With that being said, you also need to test your emergency notification system. For example, if there is a tornado warning and you want to alert your employees so you send out a message but it doesn’t go through, that’s not going to help anyone. Make sure to regularly test your emergency notification system to ensure it’s working to the best of its ability.
  • Create a Crisis Team – This part of emergency preparedness is often overlooked. You have your EAP, emergency notification system, you’ve trained your employees and you feel like you’re good to go. During an emergency you need to know exactly who is going to do what so the whole process is organized. Designate specific people with roles and responsibilities, this way you know exactly who is going to be doing what during an emergency.

To read more on how to improve your business’ emergency preparedness efforts in 2018, read Preparis’ blog, “Making Emergency Preparedness Your New Year’s Resolution.”

To learn more about how Preparis can help your business stay prepared, request a demo today.

 

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