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Developing Emergency Procedures

If you have any employees, post instructions in the work areas concerning what to do in case of a fire, earthquake, or other disaster and make sure that your employees are familiar with those instructions.

You should also be sure to have at least one smoke alarm and fire extinguisher in the work area.

Tip

Practice Tip

Keep the address of the worksite near each telephone so panicking employees can give it to dispatchers.

You may also consider having occasional fire drills to make sure employees know what to do.

Business Tools

The Business Tools area has some samples of warnings and instructions that you can use to create your own emergency procedures for posting or distribution to employees.

Pick Up the Pieces

Even the best laid plans should have provisions for when all else fails. The most important thing to remember is that you don't have to go through the recovery process alone (even though it may feel like that to you at the time).

In addition to various state and local economic development programs, the federal government offers relief to disaster victims, including small business owners, through various sources. Be sure to consult the Small Business Administration's (SBA) excellent disaster preparedness site. Other resources also include the following agencies:

  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
  • Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

It is a good idea to check with these agencies on a regular basis to see what benefits they can offer the small business owner. If an emergency happens, don't be bashful about contacting them for help, especially if you need recovery funds and could use the loans offered through the SBA.