Since the 9-11 attacks against the US many businesses have had to change their traditional ways of conducting business with the public. Terrorism is not only a personal worry, but now is a very serious business worry too. Businesses all over the United States are looking for ways to combat terrorism through conduct and safety measures. It’s not a question of if another situation like 9-11 will happen, but it is only a matter of timing as to when and where it will happen again. Businesses can be prepared by following these basic steps for survival. Learn about protecting your business from terrorist activities and threats, and what you can do to make the work place safe.
There are many ways you can protect your business, the employees, and your customers. After the 9-11 attacks a review by the 9-11 Commission of the Policy Guidelines (from the National Fire Protection Agency) of managing during terrorism and the ability of the businesses to carry on after terrorism attacks was approved as the national standard for the United States. There are other publications written by the federal government, for business owners that will aid you in assisting with medical care issues concerning terrorism.
Terrorism is likely if your business is located in or around major metropolitan areas like San Francisco, CA or even Dallas, TX. So you will need to be more prepared than other businesses located in less populated areas. However don’t discount the fact that terrorism can be directed at your business if you are in more of a less densely populated area. Gas stations, bus depots, trains, and other commercial businesses attend to attract more attention, even if located in a less densely populated area. Terrorism is about hurting people and in the eyes of a terrorist, the more hurt the better. Be aware if you own a relatively business or place where many people can gather at once.
Terrorism affects can be far reaching into commerce and trade, reaching businesses like communication systems, the Internet, medical systems like hospitals, as well as trade and transportation. Make sure your company has a plan for evacuation and that all employees know what it is. Do it by talking with your local emergency rescue teams, and have them evaluate your plan. After your plan is evaluated you should run several drills throughout the year. Time the evacuations to make sure that your company and employees can get out safely in the allotted amount of time.
Another way to protect your business against terrorism is to go over and review your businesses policies of fundamental emergency training and plans. It is important to know what to do when tragedy strikes; there is no time for mistakes or “take backs”. Take these 5 thoughts into consideration when reviewing your company plan for emergency preparedness.
1. Establish who is responsible for leading people out of danger. This can be divided up into teams for each department, but designate at least 2 primary leaders. This is just in case one cannot be reached.
2. To prevent further devastation know what your shut down policies are for the plant or office concerning machinery or vital information. If working with heavy machinery, make sure only the person who is authorized to use the machinery shuts it down. Just anybody pulling levers and pushing buttons is not a good idea when it comes to safety.
3. Know how to get people to safety, or the ones that are injured to proper medical treatment. Make meeting spaces outside the building where people should meet in case of an emergency. If you can cross the street, do so. When a building is on fire or exploding large pieces of brick, concrete, and steel can fly far distances so it best to be far away.
4. Set in place an alternative communication system for when terrorism strikes. You may want to require all staff carry a cell phone at all times just in case inter office phones are not working. Think about how to keep vital lines of open communication to all team members working for your company.
5. Know how terrorism will affect the emotional aspect of all touched by it. Mental help preparedness should also be a part of your emergency plan. If people are injured make sure that everyone knows to be supportive and keep the victim warm to avoid shock. A person goes into shock after a traumatic incident and the result is usually trembling, loss of body heat, and confusion to name a few “side effects”.
A good resource for fighting terrorism and preparedness can be found on the website of the US Justice Department. Here is a direct link to the page: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov. It’s the Office of Justice Programs under the Justice Department of the US, and here you can find information on the justice system, how to fight crime, and a variety of hot button issues that will give you information about terrorism. Also, the US Department of Homeland Security has information on how to fight terrorism with guides for the general public as well as business preparedness. This information can be found in the Office of Domestic Preparedness (SLGCP). The SLGCP has coordinated with states and territories in the US and have publications and training to help businesses prepare for a terrorist strike. They give technical assistance, financial grants, and other types of funding resources for the protection of businesses in the U. S. Their website can be found at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/odp
Businesses are not the only ones that can benefit from this information. Places like schools, daycares, and universities are also welcome to use the information. Drills can be planned for major campuses, and if you have ever seen one it is horrifyingly realistic. Everything happens just like it would in real life. The police come, as well as ambulances and fire trucks. Even a few government representatives are on site to manage the set up and execution of the terrorist drill.
It is sad to think that you’ve got to think plan ways to protect your business from terrorism. But it’s a reality in today’s business world that must be accepted and dealt with. Take the time to learn how – today. It’s not only vital for your business but may help save lives even if you are never attacked by terrorists. The skills that your employees will gain from the training are priceless when it comes to any emergency, and will ultimately make the process uncharacteristically smooth and simple.