The prevalence of natural disasters is changing. The likelihood of enduring an earthquake is now moving into additional parts of the country. Washington, Ohio, Oklahoma and even Texas have seen their share of earthquakes in recent years, reports FacilitiesNet. Unfortunately, consumers will not care if your facility has never experienced an earthquake. They are only concerned with their safety and whether your facility will be open and ready for business when the quake is over. Delays in reopening and safety risks may occur, and if anything happens to your consumers or other building occupants, your facility could be on the legal end of the fishing pole. Facility Managers need to understand the risks of failure to plan for emergencies, why emergency facility services are critical to responding to natural disasters and earthquakes, and what to look for in an appropriate emergency services provider.
The Risks of Failure to Plan for Emergencies
Emergencies will occur. It is a fact of life, and it is also a business influence. Emergencies “rattle” windows and the confidence of building occupants, including your employees. It is hard to serve consumers when a person is frightened for their safety. As a result, Facility Managers must train their staff on how to respond when disasters arise immediately, especially those that come without warnings, such as severe weather and earthquakes. All staff members should know how to evacuate the facility and get to a place of safety for the given type of emergency, notes Ready.gov.
Furthermore, all team members should know how to activate the emergency response plan, including contacting applicable emergency facility services providers. Failure to plan for emergencies will set a business up for failure when emergencies arise. The damage can be much more than physical damage to your facilities. Earthquakes can damage roads, cause fires, trigger tsunamis and avalanches and lead to building collapse. The risks following an earthquake are the full set of all possible emergencies that could occur. Afterward, consumer confidence may falter, and any issue that occurred will find its way into the realm of social media. The negative publicity is a nightmare for businesses that wish to maintain business continuity. However, ensuring your team has the skills, knowledge, and access to outside resources, including third-party service providers, will empower and enable the continued success of your business.
Earthquakes and Emergencies Require Swift Action—Emergency Facility Services
When an earthquake or natural disaster strikes, time is of the essence. Facility Managers do not have the time to contact dozens of vendors, determine the qualifications, and schedule work orders. Instead, Facility Managers are faced with the need to make an immediate decision to shut down a facility, clean up the mess, and prevents safety risks to employees. Depending on the type of disaster or emergency, safety risks may not be visible. Gas lines blow, building foundations crumble, and other problems arise. However, working with an experienced emergency services provider can mitigate many of the risks. Also, response time to natural disasters amounts to a life saved and revenue recaptured. Of course, this assumes Facility Managers have the procedures in place to respond immediately. The reality is that most have limited response plans, and those with extensive response plans may not have response plans for disasters that are not as likely to occur for a given area. For instance, Facility Managers in Dallas may not be prepared if an earthquake were to strike and cause a catastrophe. So, it all boils down to knowing how to find the right facilities services provider.
What to Look for in an Emergency Services Provider?
Facility Managers working with emergency preparedness plans should look for service providers that have an established history of helping businesses recover from both human-made and natural disasters. Also, it is not enough to simply partner with a provider and not review their available services. The appropriate emergency facility services vendor should have these key characteristics:
- Nationwide footprint.
- Ability to bring in equipment, such as generators and pumps.
- Help with storing merchandise.
- Management of safety.
- Obtaining appropriate permits.
- Thoroughly vetted field service vendors.
- Use of a CMMS in handling recovery efforts.
- A real person to answer the phone when disaster strikes.
- Ability to track work performed.
- Maintenance of assets to restore function.
Leverage the Experience of a Dedicated Team for Emergency Management
When an earthquake or other disaster strikes is the worst possible time to plan for emergency preparedness and response. Rather than waiting until disaster strikes, Facility Managers should evaluate available emergency facility services vendors and establish the relationships necessary to minimize disruption and enable recovery.