The Asia-Pacific (APAC) region is home to some of the world’s biggest companies. It is also a part of the planet that is prone to some of the world’s worst natural disasters. Everything from severe storms and floods to droughts, earthquakes, and tsunamis can threaten the day-to-day operations of APAC businesses. Here are the emergency planning tips for your business to prepare for these circumstances.
With the climate volatility of the Asia-Pacific, having an emergency preparedness plan is not optional. If you don’t already have one in place, here are several emergency preparedness and planning tips to get you started.
1. Understand the Threats
When it comes to creating an emergency plan, understanding the kinds of disasters your company might face. The APAC region is prone to a variety of different natural disasters, including severe storms, flooding, landslides, typhoons, earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions.
If you also include the impact of the pandemic, as well as human-made disasters such as cyberattacks, 2020 was one of the worst years for the APAC region.
Furthermore, disasters like storms and typhoons are becoming stronger every year, largely due to climate change. In 2020, more than 94 million people found themselves facing climate-related disasters in the Asia-Pacific region- more than twice the amount in Africa or the Americas.
2. Have Plans for Every Contingency
If you’re ready for everything, nothing can ever surprise you. It is estimated that more than one-quarter of global businesses lack the capacity to reopen if a disaster strikes. Without a disaster plan in place, that means you have a one-in-four chance of having to close your doors for good if something goes wrong.
When a disaster strikes, we have three options- evacuate, take shelter at home, or find shelter somewhere else. The third is likely, due to the amount of time we spend at our workplaces, and especially if you are in the office when things start to go wrong, as emergencies often occur suddenly, giving little to no warning.
Have a contingency plan in place for each of these activities, and design one for each type of disaster that you might face in your region. If you’re on the coast, for example, you may need an evacuation plan you can implement at a moment’s notice if a tsunami warning comes through.
3. Train Everyone on Your Emergency Plans
Once you have your plans in place, the next and arguably most important step is to ensure everyone is trained on them.
There’s no point in having an emergency plan if you’re the only one who knows how to enact it or what to do if a disaster strikes. Create a comprehensive training programme that includes your emergency plans and what each person’s role is in these plans.
Reinforce training and practice your emergency plans regularly to ensure everyone is aware of how they will need to respond if a disaster strikes. That way, you do not have to worry about everyone panicking in a situation where they need to stay calm.
4. Utilise Cloud Storage
Storing everything in-house on physical hard drives might be a great choice for convenience and security, but it also puts you at risk of losing everything if your office gets destroyed by a fire or drowned in a flood. To counter this risk, and as part of your emergency preparedness plan, start utilising cloud storage for any data you can’t afford to lose.
Proper cybersecurity protocols can keep these networks secure. Cloud storage should be part of every company’s emergency preparedness plan, in the Asia-Pacific region and worldwide.
5. Protect Your Employees First
Losing offices or inventory to natural disasters can be devastating, even if you have an emergency plan in place. One of the most important things to remember when creating any emergency preparedness plan is that materials are replaceable- employees are not. Saving inventory should be secondary to removing employees from dangerous situations.
Protect your employees first. Don’t put your team in harm’s way, especially if a quick evacuation is necessary. You can always rebuild.
Be Prepared for Anything
There is no way for us to prevent natural disasters, but we can prepare for them and control how we respond. As the planet warms and disasters get stronger and more frequent every year, having an emergency preparedness plan in place is your best option.