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1. Make a plan

Disaster can strike at any time, including during business hours. Workplaces that are not prepared for an emergency situation, along with subsequent financial and personal losses, may not be able to continue trading. Preparing an emergency plan will help keep people as safe as possible. Follow the simple steps below to put together a workplace emergency plan. 

List the following information:

  1. How to evacuate your workplace and where staff should assemble
  2. How to shut off services like gas and electricity
  3. A list of trained first aiders
  4. Emergency contact details for all staff
  5. A list of emergency supplies
  6. Remember to get input from your staff

2. Prepare your staff

Now you have a workplace emergency plan the next step is to ensure your staff are familiar with it. Encourage your staff to keep a supply of essential items they may need at work. Staff may also like to develop a personal workplace emergency plan.

Personal workplace emergency kit:

  • Water
  • Waterproof clothing and sturdy walking shoes
  • Snack food
  • Torch
  • Mobile phone
  • Any necessary medicines

3. Think about the future

Disasters often bring about a period of rapid change. Business continuity preparation is vital if your organisation is to survive a disaster or emergency situation. A continuity plan will help your business to adjust to altered circumstances and minimise risk to operations. Being able to adapt to change will not only help your business get through, but it will also help to make the most of the opportunities that can present themselves during a recovery.  

  • Risk identification
    Identify possible risks and how they would impact on your business.
  • Create disaster contingency plans
    Develop a comprehensive contingency plan for your whole business, including staff, information, assets, customers, suppliers and distribution channels.
  • Be responsive
    Focus on training that will prepare leaders to adapt quickly to changes resulting from a disaster. Develop a plan to ensure staff are equipped with the skills needed to stay healthy and engaged.
  • Build relationships
    A strong network will be crucial in a disaster situation. Look at building relationships with central and local government, other businesses, plus non-governmental and community organisations (NGOs).

Remember to:

  • Display your office emergency plan in a prominent place.
  • Encourage staff to prepare a personal workplace emergency plan.

4. Go a step further

Think about ways your business could help other organisations and the community to get prepared.

Below are some useful links for helping to get your business prepared:

  • Red Cross Hazard App
    Encourage your staff to download this app.  This is a vital tool to help get you through emergencies and receive disaster alerts.
  • Get Ready
    The Get Ready Get Thru site has a section on getting your business ready.
  • NZ Transport Agency
    If an emergency were to hit, NZ Transport Agency will show what roads/highways are open or which are affected.
  • MetService
    Keep up to date with any weather warnings which may be issued around the Southland region.
  • GeoNet
    Think you have felt a shake at work?  Check out the GeoNet website to see the location and magnitude.
  • National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA)
    While NEMA is not engaged in risk management or business continuity consultancy, there are key messages that all businesses should understand prior to initiating or reviewing continuity planning.
  • Shut Happens - Resilience guide for small businesses
    Getting your business ready to ‘get thru’ is partly about doing some planning and partly about ensuring you develop practices to become more resilient. This short guide will take you through steps that help you with both. 
  • - Emergency and continuity planning
    Putting time into planning for emergencies makes good business sense because it helps to keep people safe and minimises downtimes. It’s also a legal responsibility.


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