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Ready business mentoring guide - Preparing small businesses for emergencies

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Ready Business Mentoring Guide
Working With Small Businesses to Prepare for Emergencies

User Edition
Ready Business, an extension of the U.S. Department of Homeland Securityís Ready campaign, helps owners and managers of small to medium-sized businesses prepare their employees, operations and assets in the event of an emergency. Launched September 2004, Ready Business is funded by Homeland Securityís Office of Infrastructure Protection. This Ready Business Mentoring Guide was made possible with support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). For more information on individual and business preparedness visit


Introduction - 5
How to Use This Guide - 7
Getting Started - 8
Sample Business Continuity and Disaster Preparedness Plan - 11
Continuity of Operations Planning - 12
Emergency Contact Information - 16
Be Informed - 18
Emergency Planning Team - 21
Evacuation Plan - 23
Shelter-in-Place Plan - 27
Emergency Supllies - 31
Communications - 33
Cyber Security - 35
Promote Preparedness and Support Employee Health - 37
Annual Review - 39
Protect Your Investment - 41
Resource Listing - 46
Appendix/Sample Emergency Plan - 52

Ready Business Mentoring Guide - User Edition.
Working with small businesses to prepare for emergencies.


Scenes of disaster replay on televisions across the country with numbing regularity: A hurricane blasts through Florida... fire sweeps through a small-town manufacturing plant... floods destroy a local business district... a winter storm causes widespread power failure in the Northeast. Every year emergencies take their toll on business and industry in terms of lives and dollars. But something can be done. Businesses of all sizes can limit injury and damage and return more quickly to normal operations if they plan ahead. Preparedness works. The Ready Business Mentoring Guide: User Edition is designed to help small business owners and managers take action to reduce the impact of natural or man-made disasters. The Ready Business content reflects the Emergency Preparedness and Business Continuity Standard (NFPA 1600) developed by the National Fire Protection Association and endorsed by the American National Standards Institute, the 9/11 Commission and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Thank you for your part in preparing the business community for disasters and emergencies. Your participation in this important effort will contribute to the safety of your friends and colleagues, as well as protect the local business community.

Why develop an emergency plan?

Business owners invest a tremendous amount of time, money and resources to make their ventures successful, so it would seem natural for owners to take steps to protect those investments. While the importance of emergency planning may seem self-evident, the urgency of the task is often blunted by the immediate demands of the workplace. Also, owners and managers may have only a nominal idea of the risks their business faces, or possess only a limited understanding of steps they can take to reduce the potential impacts of disasters. Last but not least, the business person is prone to the all-too-human tendency to believe that ìit wonít happen to me.î In the meantime, businesses will continue to suffer setbacks that often could have been reduced or prevented altogether had someone taken the time to plan.

We all recognize that disaster can strike anywhere, at any time. Consider the following:

An estimated 25 percent of businesses do not reopen following a major disaster, according to the Institute for Business and Home Safety.

The number of declared major disasters more than doubled in the 1990s.

A business can be hurt indirectly when disaster strikes customers or another business, such as a supplier or distributor.

OSHA requires that most businesses with 10 or more employees have a written emergency plan.

The realities of a post-9/11 world and an increasing dependency on computer technology call for additional protection of business operations.

The 9/11 Commission emphasized the critical importance of preparedness in protectecting business assets and safeguarding employeesí lives.

"Private sector preparedness is not a luxury; it is a cost of doing business in the post 9/11 world. It is ignored at a tremendous potential cost in lives, money and national security." - 9/11 Commission Final Report, Chapter 12

It pays to be prepared.

Sometimes, when convincing people of the need for emergency preparedness, too much emphasis is placed on dramatic, worst-case scenarios ó as if these were the only possible disasters that might occur.

At the same time, the more positive aspects of everyday preparedness are overlooked. Consider these practical bene.ts that can strengthen a business regardless of where it is located or what level of risk it may face:

Preparedness enhances a company's ability to recover from financial losses, loss of market share, damages to equipment or products, and business interruption.

Preparedness facilitates compliance with regulatory safety requirements of federal, state and local agencies.

Preparedness helps companies fulfill their responsibility to protect employees, the community and the environment.

Preparedness bolsters a company's security and enhances its credibility with employees, customers, suppliers and the community.

Preparedness steps taken by business owners and operators may help reduce insurance costs.

How to use this guide.

The Ready Business Mentoring Guide: User Edition is designed to serve as a companion to the Ready Business Mentoring Guide. The User Edition contains all supplemental materials ó worksheets, checklists, testimonials and information pages ó that are found in the Ready Business Mentoring Guide. Both are based upon the U.S. Department of Homeland Securityís Ready Business Web site (

Although the User Edition is designed as a workbook to be used as part of a formal, interpersonal business mentoring session, the User Edition may also serve as a self-study guide, using the information contained in the Ready Business Web site as a reference. You will find a Sample Emergency Plan included in the appendix to this guide. As you work to complete the Sample Emergency Plan, use the worksheets and supplemental materials provided to assist you in this process.

Helpful ìtalking pointsî will summarize the main message for each topic.

ìYes or No?î questions drawn from the ìEvery Business Should Have a Planî brochure, a DHS publication available on the Ready Business Web site, will direct you to key elements of the plan. The brochure may be downloaded from Ready Business at

Where applicable, worksheets will follow each topic. Use the worksheets to help you take the all-important step of applying pencil to paper to create your plan.

Supplemental hand-outs and a list of resources will provide direction for future activity. Add your own materials to the resources cited at the end of this mentoring guide, if applicable.

The guide concludes with a final section, ìProtect Your Investment,î which offers additional steps for you to take in support and furtherance of your emergency plan.

Getting Started


Obtain a basic overview of the steps necessary to prepare your business for emergencies.

Begin developing a plan, using the Sample Emergency Plan provided in the appendix of this guide.

Consider suggested activities, planning resources and informational materials that will help you take future action.

Talking points

How quickly you can get back to business after a terrorist attack or tornado, a fire or flood, depends on emergency planning done today.

Although each situation is unique, any organization can be better prepared if it
plans carefully, puts emergency procedures in place, and reviews and practices for
all kinds of emergencies.

Business preparedness can be complex, depending on the particular industry, size
and scope of operations. But putting a plan in motion will improve the likelihood
that your company will survive and recover.

Companies that already have their emergency plans in place can continue to help create a safer, stronger community and business environment by encouraging their employees to prepare at home and by mentoring other businesses in their supply chain.

It is estimated that more than 80% of the nation's critical infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector.

Worksheet: What are the Costs?

- Use this list as a quick gauge of your current level of preparedness. As you run down the list, ask how many commonsense precautions your business has already implemented.

- Remember that some recommendations can be followed at little or no cost. Other steps may require an investment.

- Many of these same items will be included in your emergency plan.


- Meet with your insurance provider to review current coverage.

- Create procedures to quickly evacuate and shelter-in-place. Practice the plans.

- Talk to your people about the company's disaster plan. Two-way communication is central before, during and after a disaster.

- Create an emergency contact list including employee emergency contact information.

- Create a list of critical business contractors and others whom you will use in an emergency.

- Know what kinds of emergencies might affect your company both internally and externally.

- Decide in advance what you will do if your building is unusable.

- Create a list of inventory and equipment, including computer hardware, software and preipherals, for insurance purposes.

- Talk to utility service providers about potential alternatives and identify back-up options.

- Promote family and individual preparedness among your co-workers. Included emergency preparedness information during staff meetings, in newsletters, on company intranet, in periodic employee e-mails and through other internal communications tools.

Less than $500:

- Buy a fire extinguisher and smoke alarm.

- Decide which emergency supplies the company can feasibly provide, if any, and talk to your co-workers about what supplies individuals might want to consider keeping in a personal and portable supply kit.

- Set up a telephone call tree, password-protected page on the company Web site, e-mail alert or call-in voice recording to communicate with employees in an emergency.

- Provide first aid and CPR training to key co-workers.

- Use and keep up-to-date computer anti-virus software and firewalls.

- Attach equipment and cabinets to walls or other stable equipment. Place heavy or breakable objects on low shelves.

- Elevate valuable inventory and electric machinery off the floor in case of flooding.

- If applicable, make sure your building's HVAC system is working properly and is well-maintained.

- Backup your records and critical data. Keep a copy off-site.

(continued on next page)

(Worksheet continued)

More than $500

- Consider additional insurance such as business interruption, flood or earthquake.

- Purchase, install and pre-wire a generator to the buildingís essential electrical circuits. Provide for other utility alternatives and back-up options.

- Install automatic sprinkler systems, .re hoses and fire-resistant doors and walls.

- Make sure your building meets standards and codes. Consider using a professional engineer to evaluate the wind, fire or seismic resistance of your building.

- Consider using a security professional to evaluate and/or create your disaster preparedness and business continuity plan.

- Upgrade your buildingís HVAC system to secure outdoor air intakes and increase filter efficiency.

- Send safety and key emergency response employees to trainings or conferences.

- Provide a large group of employees with .rst aid and CPR training.

Take away

ìEvery Business Should Have a Planî brochure is available for download from the Ready Business Web site.

- This brochure outlines the information contained on the Ready Business Web site.
- Ready Business presents a three-step plan for business emergency planners: ìPlan to Stay in Business,î Talk to Your Peopleî and ìProtect Your Investment.î
- The brochure may be downloaded from Ready Business at

Sample Business Continuity and Disaster Preparedness Plan

Supplemental material for this section:
Sample Emergency Plan
Available for download at

- Try to keep the plan as simple as possible so that it can be remembered and followed in an emergency.

- The goal is to fill in as much of the plan as possible. It is okay to ìpencil inî answers. What is important is to start thinking about preparedness and move forward in the process of developing a plan.

- Parts of the plan will likely be easy to fill in on the spot, since the information requested is data that would be ìtop of mindî for a business owner. Example: Designating a primary crisis manager and a back-up manager.

- Other parts may be partially answered, requiring follow-up in order to complete.
Example: Compiling a list of suppliers and back-up contractors.

- Others may require more deliberate planning that would take place over a period of time. Example: Developing and implementing a shelter-in-place plan.

- The Sample Emergency Plan is a template. It provides a basic framework that may require tailoring and customizing to fit your businessís specific needs.

- Your companyís actual plan may require that entries made today be expanded
Example: Your companyís communication plan, once it is developed, may require more than the two lines provided in the Sample Emergency Plan.

- Approach the Sample Emergency Plan step-by-step. Each boldface item in the plan relates to a topic that is addressed in greater detail on the Ready Business Web site.
Example: While the Sample Emergency Plan provides three lines for cyber security planning, cyber security is more fully discussed on the Web site, and includes links to other cyber-security sites.

Sample Emergency Plan
Page 1 ó Plan to Stay in Business
Page 2 ó Our Critical Operations
Page 3 ó Suppliers and Contractors
Page 6 ó Records Backup
Supplemental material for this section:
Worksheet: Continuity of Operations
Planning Information Sheet: Prepare for Utility Disruptions


Continuity of operations planning (sometimes referred to as ìCOOPî) involves looking at your business from inside and out to determine the people, resources and procedures that are absolutely essential to keep your operation running.

You should explore ìwhat-ifî scenarios, such as what to do if your place of business is not accessible, if a major supplier is shut down, if emergency financial decisions must be made, or if another person in the line of succession must assume management of the company. At the same time, taking a broad, commonsense approach will help manage emergencies that cannot be anticipated.

Four parts of the Sample Emergency Plan ask for information that corresponds to the Ready Business Web siteís discussion of business continuity.

Additional information is available in the ìProtect Your Investmentî section at the end of the guide in support and furtherance of your emergency plan.

Yes or No?

Have you identified the employee procedures that are absolutely necessary to keep operating? (Yes/No)

Do you have back-up plans for those operations? (Yes/No)

Do you know what you will do if your building is not accessible? (Yes/No)

Have you arranged for another firm to serve your customers or clients if you cannot? (Yes/No)

Do you know what to do if your suppliers are affected by a disaster? (Yes/No)

Do you back up your data in case compiters or storage facilities are destroyed? (Yes/No)

Go to the Sample Emergency Plan and fill in the following sections. Use the worksheet and information sheet to improve your understanding of continuity of operations planning.

Plan to Stay in Business ó page 1
Our Critical Operations ó page 2
Suppliers and Contractors ó page 3
Records Backup ó page 6

Continuity of operations planning - or COOP - involves looking at your busness from inside and out to determine what is absolutely essential to keep you operation running.

Worksheet: Continuity of Operations Planning

Carefully assess how your company functions, both internally and externally, to determine which staff, materials, procedures and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep the business operating.

- Review your business process flow chart if one exists.
- Identify operations critical to survival and recovery.
- Include emergency payroll, expedited financial decision making and accounting systems to track and document costs in the event of a disaster.
- Establish procedures for succession of management. Include at least one person who is not at the company headquarters, if applicable.

Identify your suppliers, shippers, resources and other businesses you interact with on a daily basis.
- Develop professional relationships with more than one company in case your primary contractor cannot service your needs. A disaster that shuts down a key contractor can be devastating to your business.
- Create a contact list for existing critical business contractors and others you plan to use in an emergency. Keep this list with other important documents on file in your emergency supply kit and at an off-site location.
- Make a list of your most important customers and proactively plan ways to serve them during and after a disaster.

Plan what you will do if your building, plant or store is not accessible. This type of planning is often referred to as a continuity of operations plan, or COOP, and includes all facets of your business.
- Consider if you can run the business from a different location or from your home.
- Develop relationships with other companies to use their facilities in case a disaster makes your location unusable.

Plan for payroll continuity.

Decide who should participate in putting together your emergency plan.
- Include co-workers from all levels in planning and as active members of the emergency management team.
- Consider a broad cross-section of people from throughout your organization, but focus on those with expertise vital to daily business functions. These will likely include people with technical skills as well as managers and executives.
- Include employees with special needs and consider their unique requirements.

Define crisis management procedures and individual responsibilities in advance.
- Make sure those involved know what they are supposed to do.
- Train others in case you need back-up help.

continued on next page
Worksheet continued

Coordinate with others.
- Meet with other businesses in your building or industrial complex.
- Talk with first responders, emergency managers, community organizations and utility providers.
- Plan with your suppliers, shippers and other business associates.
- Share your plans and encourage other businesses to set in motion their continuity planning. Offer your help.

Communicate plans with employees and conduct practice drills.

Review your emergency plans annually. Just as your business changes over time, so do your preparedness needs. When you hire new employees or when there are changes in how your company functions, you should update your plans and inform your people.

Information Sheet: Prepare for Utility Disruptions

Businesses are often dependent on electricity, gas, telecommunications, sewer and other utilities.
- Plan ahead for extended disruptions during and after a disaster. Carefully examine which utilities are vital to your businessís day-to-day operation. Speak with service providers about potential alternatives and identify back-up options.
- Learn how and when to turn off utilities. If you turn the gas off, a professional must turn it back on. Do not attempt to turn the gas back on yourself.
- Consider purchasing portable generators to power the vital aspects of your business in an emergency. Never use a generator inside as it may produce deadly carbon monoxide gas. It is a good idea to pre-wire the generator to the most important equipment. Periodically test the back-up systemís operability.
- Decide how you will communicate with employees, customers, suppliers and others. Use cell phones, walkie-talkies or other devices that do not rely on electricity as a backup to your telecommunications system.
- Plan a secondary means of accessing the Internet if it is vital to your companyís day-to≠day operations.
- If food storage or refrigeration is an issue for your business, identify a vendor in advance that sells ice and dry ice in case you cannot use refrigeration equipment.

Next Steps
- Discuss ìwhat-ifî scenarios with members of your emergency planning team.
- Review your critical operations and discuss procedures to follow in the event of a disaster with the staff person in charge of each operation.
Sample Emergency Plan

(Page 1 - Emergency Contact Information)

Supplemental material for this section:
Testemonial: Aeneas

Inadequate insurance coverage can adversely affect a business that is damaged or destroyed by a disaster, or has its operations interrupted.

Consider insurance-related issues such as the amount of deductibles, how you would meet payroll and pay creditors, and your business financial needs in case a disaster hits.

Yes or No?

Does your company's insurance provide adequate coverage for emergencies that may affect your business? (Yes/No)

Have you reviewed your coverage within the last year? (Yes/No)

Have you reviewed and renewed provisions for other financial preparedness needs, such as arrangements for emergeny finances and protection of vital records, withing the past year? (Yes/No)


Testimonial: Aeneas

ìAnd because we were ready, our customers never knew the difference.î ó Aeneas Internet and Telephone CEO Jonathan Harlan

The people who work at Aeneas Internet and Telephone of Jackson, Tennessee, know what itís like to have their business devastated by Mother Nature. Fortunately, because they had a disaster recovery plan, they also know what itís like to recover from devastation.

On May 4, 2003, Aeneas was among the more than 400 businesses in Tennessee hit by an F4 tornado, packing winds greater than 200 miles per hour. The tornado resulted in eleven deaths and more than $50 million in damage throughout the community. Aeneas Internet and Telephone lost more than $1 million in hardware and software, and its home office was reduced to rubble.

ìThere was nothing left of our building. Just piles of bricks and concrete. We lost everything,î said Aeneas Internet and Telephone CEO Jonathan Harlan. ìBut back up systems were in place and our employees worked from other locations. And because we were ready, our customers never knew the difference.î

Less than 72 hours later Aeneas was back, fully serving its clientsí needs. In fact, many of its smaller business and residential phone customers never lost their service. Aeneas had been able to protect itself against a worst case scenario because it had planned for a worst case scenario. Its business recovery plan was based on the idea that even if its facilities were destroyed and services halted, it would have back ups in place and ready to go.

Through the recovery effort, Aeneas officials were careful to keep customers abreast of their progress. Aeneas also benefited from the quick work and dynamic spirit of its employees and the local community who refused to let a tornado bring down what they had fought so hardto build in the first place.

Next Steps
- Review coverage with your insurance agent. Be sure you understand what is covered, including items that are excluded under your current policy.
- Find out what records your insurance company will need to see in the event of a disaster and store copies of the documents in a safe, off-site location.

Sample Emergency Plan

(Page 2 - Be Informed)

Supplemental material for this section:
Worksheet: Risk Assessment Survey

Disaster preparedness includes both natural and man-made events ranging from floods and power outages to technological threats and terrorism.

Being informed means knowing your risks and knowing what to do in different situations. Risk assessment can range from self-awareness to a sophisticated engineering analysis.

Post-9/11 realities have heightened the concern for terrorist events. The Ready Business Web side includes information on chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats. Your business safety plan should include a review of how to properly respond to each of these events.

The Ready Business Web site also includes helpful information on coping with natural disaster and industrial hazards.

Yes or No?

Do you know the risks that your business faces from natural and man-made disasters? (Yes/No)

Be Informed

Worksheet: Risk Assessment Survey

Possible Hazards and Emergencies:

Natural Hazards:

Floods. Risk Level: None, Low, Moderate or High? How can I reduce my risk?

Hurricanes. Risk Level: None, Low, Moderate or High? How can I reduce my risk?

Thunderstorms and lightning. Risk Level: None, Low, Moderate or High? How can I reduce my risk?

Tornados. Risk Level: None, Low, Moderate or High? How can I reduce my risk?

Winter storms and extreme cold. Risk Level: None, Low, Moderate or High? How can I reduce my risk?

Extreme head. Risk Level: None, Low, Moderate or High? How can I reduce my risk?

Earthquakes. Risk Level: None, Low, Moderate or High? How can I reduce my risk?

Volcanos. Risk Level: None, Low, Moderate or High? How can I reduce my risk?

Fires. Risk Level: None, Low, Moderate or High? How can I reduce my risk?

Wildfires. Risk Level: None, Low, Moderate or High? How can I reduce my risk?

Technological hazards:

Hazardouse materials incidents. Risk Level: None, Low, Moderate or High? How can I reduce my risk?

Nuclear power plants. Risk Level: None, Low, Moderate or High? How can I reduce my risk?

Power outages. Risk Level: None, Low, Moderate or High? How can I reduce my risk?

Cyber-security. Risk Level: None, Low, Moderate or High? How can I reduce my risk?


Explosions. Risk Level: None, Low, Moderate or High? How can I reduce my risk?

Biological threats. Risk Level: None, Low, Moderate or High? How can I reduce my risk?

Chemical threats. Risk Level: None, Low, Moderate or High? How can I reduce my risk?

Nuclear blasts. Risk Level: None, Low, Moderate or High? How can I reduce my risk?

Radiological Dispersion Device (RDD). Risk Level: None, Low, Moderate or High? How can I reduce my risk?

Local hazards specific to your business:

1. (list hazard). Risk Level: None, Low, Moderate or High? How can I reduce my risk?

2. (list hazard). Risk Level: None, Low, Moderate or High? How can I reduce my risk?

3. (list hazard). Risk Level: None, Low, Moderate or High? How can I reduce my risk?


Next Steps
- If you are uncertain about your risks, ask a local emergency manager about possible hazards or emergencies.
- You also can consult FEMA for hazard maps particular to your area. Go to, select maps and follow the directions.
- Conduct a similar brainstorming session with your companyís emergency team. Use the worksheet to record your findings and suggestions for reducing risk.

Sample Emergency Plan

(Page 2 - Emergency Planning Team)

Supplemental material for this section:
Worksheet: Involve Co-Workers in Emergency Planning

Rather than fill out a team roster immediately, consider the make-up of your team. What roles and responsibilities comes to mind? Are certain employees particularly well-suited for the team? What qualities and abilities make them a good fit?

Use the checklist to help determine who in the organization may already be handling similar responsibilities. The list also provides ideas about how to get employees more involved in emergency preparedness.

It is important that your company involve employees at every level so they are part of the effort to prepare and protect their place of business; also consider all divisions of the business.

Yes or No?

Does your business have an emergency planning team in place? (Yes/No)

If not, is there anyone who has experience handling emergencies on behalf of the company? (Yes/No)

Worksheet: Involve Co Workers in Emergency Planning

- Involve co-workers from all levels in emergency planning; identify employees with disabilities or other special needs and involve them in your emergency planning.
- Use newsletters, Intranet sites, staff meetings and other internal communications tools to communicate emergency plans and procedures.
- Set up procedures to warn employees. Plan how you will communicate with people who are hearing-impaired or have other disabilities, or who do not speak English.
- Set up a telephone call tree, password-protected page on the companyís Web site, e-mail alert or call-in voice recording to communicate with employees during and after an emergency.
- Designate an out-of-town phone number where employees can leave an ìIím OKî message in a catastrophic disaster. Remember to minimize your calls and keep them short so others can get through.
- Encourage employees to have alternate means and routes for getting to and from work, in case their normal mode of transportation is interrupted.
- Keep a record of employee emergency contact information with other important documents in your emergency kit and at an off-site location.
- If you rent, lease or share space with other businesses, it is important to communicate, share and coordinate evacuation procedures and other emergency plans.

Next Steps
- Establish an emergency planning team that involves employees at all levels.

Sample Emergency Plan

(Page 4 - Evacuation Plan)

Supplemental materials for this section:
Worksheet: Make an Evacuation Plan
Testemonial: Morgan Stanley
Information Sheets: People with Disabilities, High-Rise Buildings

When disaster strikes, one of the most critical decisions to make is whether to remain on-site or to evacuate the premises.

Local authorities may not always be able to provide you immediate information about what is happening or what action you should take. Nevertheless, monitor local television and radio reports for official information as it becomes available.

If officially advised to evacuate, shelter-in-place or seek medical treatment, do so immediately.

Yes or No?

Does your company currently have a formal plan to evacuate the premises? (Yes/No)

Are employees trained to follow the plan in case of emergency? (Yes/No)

Are evacuation routes clearly posted? (Yes/No)

Do you regularly practice evacuation procedures? (Yes/No)

Review the "Make an Evacuation Plan" worksheet before attempting to complete page 4 of the Sample Emergency Plan. Even if your business has an evacuation plan, there may be important steps that have been overlooked.

Worksheet: Make an Evacuation Plan

Some disasters will require employees to leave the workplace quickly. The ability to evacuate workers, customers and visitors effectively can save lives. People who plan and practice how they will get out of the building in an emergency are better prepared than those who do not have an exit strategy.

1. If feasible, develop a system for knowing who is in your building, including customers and visitors, so that all can be accounted for in case there is an emergency.

(contined on next page)

(Worksheet continued)

2. Decide in advance who has the authority to order an evacuation. Create a chain of command so that others are authorized to act in case your designated person is not available. If local officials tell you to evacuate, do so immediately.

3. Identify who will shut down critical operations and lock the doors, if possible, during an evacuation.
- Train others who can serve as a backup if the designated person is unavailable.
- Write down, distribute and practice evacuation procedures.

4. Locate and make copies of building and site maps with cirticial utility and emergency routes already marked.
- Identify and clearly mark entry-exit points both on the maps and throughout the building.
- Post maps for quick reference by employees.
- Keep copies of building and site maps with your crisis management plan and other important documents in your emergency supply kit and also at an off-site location,
- Make copies available to fisrt responders or other emergency personnel.

5. Plan two ways out the building from different locations throughout your facility.

6. Consider the feasibility of instally emergency lighting or plan to use flashlights in case the power goes out.

7. Establish a warning system.
- Test systems frequently
- Plan to communicate with people who are hearing-impaired or have other disabilities and those who do not speak English.

8. Designate an assembly site.
- Pick one location near your facility and another in the general area in case you have to move farther away.
- Talk to your people in advance about the importance of letting someone know if they cannot get to the assembly site or if they must leave it.
- Be sure the assembly site is away from traffic lanes and is safe for pedestrians.

9. Try to account for all workers, visitors and customers as people arrive at the assembly site. Take a head count.
- Use a prepared roster or checklist.
- Ask everyone to let others know if they are leaving the assembly site.

10. Determine who is responsible for providing an all-clear or return-to-work notification. Plan to cooperate with local authorities responding to an emergency.

11. Plan for people with disabilities who may need help getting out in an emergency.

12. If your business operates out of more than one location or has more than one place where people work, establish evacuation procedures for each individual building.

13. If your company is in a high-rise building, an industrial park or even a small strip mall, it is important to coordinate and practice with other tenants or businesses to avoid confusion and potential gridlock.

14. If you rent, lease or share a space with other businesses, make sure the building owner and other companies are committed to coordinating and practicing evacuation procedures together.


Testimonial: Morgan Stanley

Practice Pays: Morgan Stanley and the September 11, 2001, Terrorist Attacks

In 1993, when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center for the first time, financial services company Morgan Stanley learned a life saving lesson. It took the company 4 hours that day to evacuate its employees, some of whom had to walk down 60 or more flights of stairs to safety.

While none of Morgan Stanleyís employees were killed in the attack, the companyís management decided its disaster plan just wasnít good enough.

Morgan Stanley took a close look at its operation, analyzed the potential disaster risk and developed a multi faceted disaster plan. Perhaps just as importantly, it practiced the plan frequently to provide for employee safety in the event of another disaster.

On September 11, 2001, the planning and practice paid off. Immediately after the first hijacked plane struck One World Trade Center, Morgan Stanley security executives ordered the companyís 3800 employees to evacuate from World Trade Center buildings, Two and Five. This time, it took them just 45 minutes to get out to safety!

The crisis management did not stop at that point, however. Morgan Stanley offered grief counseling to workers and increased its security presence. It also used effective communications strategies to provide timely, appropriate information to management and employees, investors and clients, and regulators and the media.

Morgan Stanley still lost 13 people on September 11th, but many more could have died if the company had not had a solid disaster plan that was practiced over and over again. In making a commitment to prepare itsmost valuable asset, its people, Morgan Stanley ensured the firmís future.


Information Sheet: People with Disabilities

Talk to co-workers with disabilities. If you have employees with disabilities ask what assistance is needed. People with disabilities typically know what assistance they will need in an emergency.
- Identify co-workers in your organization with special needs.
- Engage people with disabilities in emergency planning.
- Ask about communication difficulties, physical limitations, equipment instructions and medication procedures.
- Identify people willing to help co-workers with disabilities and be sure they are able to handle the job. This is particularly important if someone needs to be lifted or carried.
- Plan how you will alert people who cannot hear an alarm or emergency instructions.

Information Sheet: High Rise Buildings
- Note where the closest emergency exit is.
- Be sure you know another way out in case your first choice is blocked.
- Take cover under a desk or table if things are falling.
- Move away from file cabinets, bookshelves or other things that might fall.
- Face away from windows and glass.
- Move away from exterior walls.
- Determine if you should stay put, ìshelter-in-placeî or get away.
- Listen for and follow instructions.
- Take your emergency supply kit, unless there is reason to believe it has been contaminated.
- Do not use elevators.
- Stay to the right while going down stairwells to allow emergency workers to come up.

Next Steps

- Review and practice the evacuation plan at your business location.
- Conduct employee training, exercises and drills.
- Plan for people with disabilities who may need help getting out in an emergency.

Sample Emergency Plan

(Page 5 - Shelter-in-Place Plan)

Supplemental material for this section:
Worksheet: Shelter-in-Place Plan
Information Sheet: Shelter-in-Place "Seal the Room" Diagram

Deciding whether you stay or go is a critical, potentially life-saving call. If you are officially instructed by local authorities to either evacuate or shelter-in-place, do so immediately.

Shelter-in-place planning requires a high level of preparedness, particularly in situations where a decision is made to "seal the room" to create a barrier against contaminated outside air.

It should be noted that employees cannot be forced to shelter. Planning and effective communication with employees will avoid confusion in the event of an emergency.

Yes or No?

Does your company have a shelter-in-place plan to protect employees in the event they need to remain insider the building during an emergency? (Yes/No)

If so, are your employees familiar with the plan? (Yes/No)

Worksheet: Shelter in Place Plan

Make a Shelter-in-Place Plan:

There may be situations when it is best to stay where you are to avoid any uncertainty outside. There are other circumstances, such as during a tornado or a chemical incident, when specifically how and where you take shelter is a matter of survival. You should understand the different threats and plan for all possibilities. If you are instructed by local authorities to take shelter, do so immediately.

1. If feasible, develop a system for knowing who is in your building in case there is an emergency.

2. Establish a warning system.
- Test systems frequently.
- Plan to communicate with people who have hearing impairments or other disabilities or who do not speak English.

3. Account for all workers, visitors and customers as people arrive in the shelter.
- Take a head count.
- Use a prepared roster or checklist.
- In general, employees cannot be forced to shelter. However, there are circumstances when local officials will order that everyone stay put. It is important to speak with your co-workers in advance about sheltering to avoid confusion and allow for cooperation in the event you need to shelter-in-place.

4. Assign specific duties to employees in advance and create checklists for each responsibility. Designate and train employee alternates in case the assigned person is not there or is injured.

5. Get emergency supply kits and keep them in your shelter locations.

6. Practice your shelter-in-place plan on a regular basis.

Determine where you will take shelter in case of a tornado warning.

1. Storm cellars or basements provide the best tornado protection.

2. If underground shelter is not available, go into an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.

3. In a high-rise building, go to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.

4. Stay away from windows, doors and outside walls. Go to the center of the room. Stay away from corners because they attract debris.

5. Stay in the shelter location until the danger has passed.

Seal the room.

If local authorities believe the air is badly contaminated with an agent released from a chemical manufacturing plant, for example, you may be instructed to take shelter and "seal the room" in an inside room on a higher floor. The process used to seal the room is considered a temporary protective measure to create a barrier between your people and potentially contaminated air outside. It is a type of sheltering that requires pre-planning.

(continued on next page)
(worksheet continued)

1. Identify a location to "seal the room" in advance.
- If feasible, choose an interior room, such as a break room or conference room, with as few windows and doors as possible.
- If your business is located on more than one floor or in more than one building, identify multiple shelter locations.

2. To "seal the room" effectively:
- Close the business and bring everyone inside.
- Lock doors, close windows, air vents and fireplace dampers.
- Turn off fans, air conditioning and forced air heating systems.
- Take your emergency supply kit unless you have reason to believe it has been contaminated.
- Go into an interior room, such as a break room or conference room, with few windows, if possible.
- Seal all windows, doors and air vents with plastic sheeting and duct tape. Measure, cut and label the sheeting in advance to save time.
- Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to seal gaps so that you create a barrier between yourself and any contamination.
- Local authorities may not immediately be able to provide information on what is happening and what you should do. However, you should watch television, listen to the radio or check the Internet often for official news and instructions as they become available.

Information Sheet: Shelter in Place "Seal the Room: Diagram

- Cover all doors, windows and vents with 2-4 mil. thick plastic sheeting.
- Cut the plastic sheeting several inches wider than the openings and label each sheet.
- Duct tape plastic at corners first and then tape down all edges.

Next Steps:

- Review and practice the shelter-in-place plan at your business location.
- Organize and emergency team that understands procedures to shelter-in-place.
- Identify special needs of employees and ensure that they are provided assistance in case of a shelter-in-place emergency; include these employees in your planning process.
- If you are in the process of expanding, changing locations or building new facilities, you may want to consider constructing a special shelter-in-place room. For more information, visit

Sample Emergency Plan

(Page 5 - Emergency Supplies)

Supplemental material for this section:
Worksheet: Emergency Supplies Checklist

You should let employees know what emergency supplies the company will store on location so that individuals may consider if there are other items they need to include for their personal protection.

Remember that emergency supplies should include a battery-operated All-Hazards NOAA Weather Radio for weather alerts and a commercial radio for news and information from local authorities.

Keep essential documents such as building plans, insurance documents, supplier contracts, employee contact information and computer backup tapes in a waterproof, fireproof container. Store a duplicate set of these same items at an off-site location.

In addition to emergency supplies that the compnay can feasibly keep on hand, encourage workers to maintain their own kit, including such things as medication, mini-flashlight, emergency whistle, water, snacks, etc.

Yes or No?

In addition to a basic first-aid kit, does your company store and maintain emergency supplies that could be used in the event of a disaster? (Yes/No)

Do you protect documents essential to business continuity at work and at an off-site location? (Yes/No)

Worksheet: Emergency Supplies Checklist

On next page, also available for download at

This list is a starting point. Add items that might be appropriate to your particular business and the needs of employees.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Emergency Supplies

Talk to your co-workers about what emergency supplies the company can feasibly provide, if any, and which ones individuals should consider keeping on hand.
Recommended emergency supplies include the following:

-Water, amounts for portable kits will vary. Individuals should determine what amount they are able to both store comfortably and to transport to other locations. If it is feasible, store one gallon of water per person per day, for drinking and sanitation.
- Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Battery-powered radio and extra batteries
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust or filter masks readily available in hardware stores, which are rated based on how small a particle they filter
- Moist towelette for sanitation
- Can opener for food if kid contains canned food
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape to "seal the room"
- Garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation

Next Steps
- Review the emergency supply list and add additional items that fit your particular situation.
- Encourage employees to put together their own emergency preparedness kit.

Sample Emergency Plan

(Page 6 - Communications)

Supplemental materials for this section:
Worksheet: Develop a Crisis Communication Plan
Testimonial: Equity Technologies

The ability to effectively communicate with employees, customers, local authorities and the public during an emergency can make a major difference in how well your company is able to recover from disaster.

Encourage open communication from employees concerning proceduares before, during and after an emergency.

Yes or No?

Does your business regularly include emergency preparedness and safety information in company communications, including web pages, newsletters and e-mails? (Yes/No)

Worksheet: Develop a Crisis Communication Plan

1. Employees: Be Prepared to provide employees with information on when, if and how to report to work following an emergency.
- Set up a telephone call tree, password-protected page on the company Web site, an e-mail alert or a call-in voice recording to communicate with employees in and emergency.
- Be clear on how their jobs may be affected.

2. Management: Provide top company executives with all relevent information needed for the protection of employees, customers, vendors and nearby facilities.

3. Public: It may be important to update the general public with calm assurances that all resources are being used to protect workers and the community. Being able to communicate the plans are in place for recovery may be especially important.

4. Customers: Update your customers on whether and when products will be received and services rendered.

5. Government: Tell officials what your company is prepared to do to help in the recovery effort. Also communicate with local, state and federal authorities what emergency assisstance is needed for you to continue essential business activity.

6. Other Businesses/Immediate Neighbors: You should be prepared to give competing and neighboring companies a prompt briefing on the nature of the emergency so they may be able to assess their own threat levels.

Testimonial: Equity Technologies

ìIt wasnít hard to put together a plan, you just have to make it a priority.î ó President and CEO Cathy Anderson Giles

Equity Technologies Corporation knows what it means to be prepared. Located in Mobile, Alabama, the company has long had plans and procedures in place to counter the threat posed by hurricanes and other severe weather. For instance, Equity Technologies promotes family and individual preparedness and has set up a means of communicating with employees when dangerous weather threatens. Employees carry laminated cards with contact information for supervisors and a voice recorded call in number with updates about the companyís status.

But it was the risk of Y2K related disturbances that motivated Equity Technologies to get serious about its disaster preparedness and business continuity plans. ìWe are a small company which does business around the world. To be competitive my clients must feel confident that we are ready for anything,î said Equity Technologies Corporationís President and CEO Cathy Anderson Giles. ìIt wasnít hard to put together a plan, you just have to make it a priority.î

First the company identified workers to serve as key contacts for the 72-employee operation. These key contacts then established safety and security teams which analyzed Equity Technologies Corporationís entire emergency process.

The teams realized that communication between the company and the outside world was the single most important operational factor in an emergency. As a result, Equity Technologies purchased generators to power the phone system during utility outages and trained co workers to set them up within seven minutes. Not only does the company have emergency plans and procedures in place, it has made a commitment to review the plans and tools each year at the start of the hurricane season. ìWe have the annual review on our corporate calendar,î said Anderson Giles. ìBeing prepared means being ready for any kind of emergency, be it hurricane, utility disruption or man made disaster.î

Next Steps
- Include safety and preparedness information in future company communications.
- Identify employees with disabilities or special communication needs and involve them in your planning.

Sample Emergency Plan

(Page 6 - Cyber Security)

Supplemental material for this section:
Worksheet: Improving Cyber Security

The issue of computer security is an everyday problem that most people are familiar with on a personal level. Because computers are the lifeblood of many operations, it is vital that companies address cyber security.

Every computer is vulnerable to cyber-security threat. While some protections can be highly technical and expensive, even the smallest business can benefit from taking measures to guard against computer hacking and viruses.

Yes or No?

Do you regularly install security patches to your software? (Yes/No)

Have you installed a firewall to your network? (Yes/No)

Do you update your anti-virus software? (Yes/No)

Worksheet: Improving Cyber Security
- Use anti-virus software and keep it up to date.
- Do not open e-mail from unknown or unwanted sources.
- Use hard-to-guess passwords.
- Protect your computer from Internet intruders by using firewalls.
- Back-up your data.
- Regularly download security update patches.
- Check your computer operations security on a regular basis.
- Train personnel on steps to take should the computer system become infected, or designate an in-house contact should a cyber-security problem arise.

Next Steps
- Use the online resources of the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team ( gov). This is a partnership between DHS and public and private sectors. The team was established to protect the nationís Internet infrastructure through coordinated defense against and responses to cyber attacks.
- Consider signing up for the Department of Homeland Securityís National Cyber Alert System ( to receive free, timely alerts on new threats and to learn how to better protect your area of cyberspace.

Sample Emergency Plan

(Page 7 - Promote Preparedness and Support Employee Health After a Disaster)

Supplemental material for this section:
Worksheet: Support Employee Health

Encouraging your employees to prepare for emergencies helps individuals and families minimize the impact a disaster may have on their lives. In the event of a disaster, employees will be able to re-establish routines faster and the company as a whole will be able to recover more quickly.

People who experience a disaster may have special recovery needs. For example, someone recoverying from a desastating flood may have to re-establish themselves and their family in a new living situation, and will likely need extra time in the transition. Be prepared to support employee health after a disaster.

Yes or No?

Does your company keep emergency contact information on hand that is readily retrievable in the event of an emergency? (Yes/No)

Has the information been updated recently? (Yes/No)

Is this information also kept off-site with other parts of your emergency plan? (Yes/No)

Do you encourage employees to make a personal emergency supply kit and a family communication plan? (Yes/No)

Worksheet: Support Employee Health

Re-establishing routines, including getting back to work, is important to the well-being of people who have experienced disasters. If individuals and families are prepared, your company and your co-workers are better positioned in an emergency situation.

Support Employee Health After a Disaster:
- Encourage adequate food, rest and recreation.
- Provide for time at home to care for family needs, if necessary.
- Have an open-door policy that facilitates seeking care when needed.
- Create opportunities for breaks where co-workers can talk openly about their fears and hopes. Sharing with others can speed personal recovery.
- Reassure one another that families will be supported. Worries about family well-being can consume workers who have experienced a disaster.
- Re-establish routines, when possible. Workplace routines facilitate recovery by providing an opportunity to be active and to restore social contact.
- Offer professional counselors to help co-workers address their fears and anxieties.
- Once the need to listen for emergency instructions has passed, limit television, radio and other external stresses.
- Take care of yourself. Leaders tend to experience added stress after a disaster. Your personal health and recovery is important to your family and your employees.

Next Steps
- Visit (Ready America) for general preparedness instructions and information.
- Encourage your employees and their families to ìGet a Kit, Make a Plan, Be Informed.î Call 1-800-BE-READY for a free brochure.