Emergency preparedness is a process. It’s not just about having a plan to do a fire drill once a quarter, but how to keep the business going during and after a crisis. This fact grows more relevant every day as companies face the challenges of a riskier society. Business continuity is about ensuring your company is prepared for any crisis.

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Before you get started with defining a business continuity plan, you must conduct a vulnerability assessment to understand your company’s major weak points in the response during a crisis and the subsequent recovery period. A business impact analysis is a way to understand how threats will affect business functions. After documenting the risks to your organization, research which tools such as an emergency notification system, document storage, and training would be most in critical for your emergency prevention and disaster recovery.

Here are the 10 of the most common threats to consider in your emergency management plans.

1.Workplace Violence

The threat of an active shooter entering into an office is a scary reality. What would your employees do in the event a gunman started shooting in your building? Preparis has a custom active shooter tabletop drill and a webinar on what to in the event of workplace violence.

2. Winter Storms

As the U.S. continues to get hammered with snow and ice by Winter Storm Q, your business needs to have a plan in place for employees to work remotely. Here are three crucial steps to prepare for a winter storm and a checklist on best practices for businesses during a blizzard.

3. Hurricanes

If businesses learned anything from Hurricane Sandy, it’s the importance of having a backup plan in place to continue operations well before a hurricane hits land. Download our hurricane checklist and watch our webinar on what to do in the event a hurricane is heading your way.

4. Earthquake

The East Coast earthquake showed they can happen almost anywhere and most don’t know what to do. Over 45 states in the U.S. are at risk for earthquakes. According to FEMA, your risk can be assessed by considering your hazard, exposure, and vulnerability. To view the level of hazards in your area, examine this earthquake hazards map. Preparis also has an earthquake tabletop drill to practice with your employees available.

5. Tornado

Tornado season officially begins in March in the Southeast and April in the Midwest. In 2012, nearly 100 people were killed by tornadoes and over 500 the year before. It is important to know where to hide in the event a tornado is coming, especially for businesses located in a high-rise building. Preparis also has a tabletop tornado drill to practice with your employees.

6. Office Fire

On Jan. 27, more than 200 people were killed when a fire broke out in a Brazilian nightclub. Fire alarms, extinguishers and escape routes aren’t enough unless your employees know what to do. Here are 5 must do tips to prevent tragedies related to fire.

7. Wildfire

The ongoing drought plaguing Midwest and Southern states since 2010 has cost the economy more than $35 billion plus impacted the gross-domestic product by even more. Another cause for concern is when dry conditions spark wildfires. In 2012, the Colorado wildfire caused 32,000 people to be evacuated and destroyed hundreds of buildings. Is your business located in one of the areas impacted by drought and at risk for wildfire?

8. Flood

Flooding is one of the most common natural disasters in the world and it can happen pretty much anywhere at any time. Here’s the Preparis guide on flood preparation and safety. But your office can flood simply by the sprinkler system malfunctioning. Do you have your documents backed up in the event important papers are destroyed in a flood?

9. Influenza

The Center for Disease Control estimates up to 50,000 deaths from flu are possible in 2013. Our trained emergency management consultants have tips on how to prevent flu from spreading in your office. The most important way to prevent the spread of disease in your office is to encourage employees to stay at home at the first sign of illness, plus have alcohol-based hand sanitizer located around the workspace. Your business continuity plan should also focus on working with a depleted workforce.

10. Blackout

There are many different types of power outages in various ranges of severity but a key component of handling a blackout is ensuring your data is secured in a location outside the walls of your office. A full list of classifications of power outages, what to do in the event of a blackout, and the subsequent recovery process is available here.

Emerging threat: Cyber Attacks

The Director of the National Security Administration Chief, Gen. Keith Alexander, stated cyber attacks rose 43% in 2012 because businesses didn’t even realize when their security was in breach. China is one of the premier combatants in the arena of cyber-warfare and The Economist estimates China will have the capability of “winning informationized wars by the mid-21st century”.

Preparis offers consulting services delivered by a seasoned team of subject matter experts, helping you navigate the ever-changing landscape of risks and threats to your organization. Best of all, our team has seen it all, so there are few challenges or situations that we can’t help you solve using our best practices and methodologies. Our proven approach allows our clients to assess their potential risks, document their key processes, and test their organizational readiness to effectively respond and recover business operations in the event of a disaster. For more information, e-mail us at info@preparis.com or give us a call at 404.662.2950. Also, follow us on Twitter and Facebook for daily updates on industry news and events.

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