Business Owners


Business (and organizational) Preparedness - also known as Business Continuity - is fairly simple on the face of it according to Wendy Freitag, the Washington State Emergency Management Division's Business Liaison:

Develop plans to handle these four circumstances:

  • Fire or other building failure forcing evacuation
  • Inability of staff to get to work (whether due to sickness or transportation reasons)
  • Technology failure
  • Failure of any unique supplies or resources your organization needs to work

Having basic plans and backup resources identified and possibly under contract can help businesses handle a wide range of routine and exceptional incidents including fire, pandemic or earthquake. Accomplishing this requires a plan and there are commonly a number of templates, useful guidence and pitfalls that VashonBePrepared hopes to explain in this section of our web site.

For more details, see this step by step guide to developing your business' preparedness plan.

Steps to Comprehensive Business Planning and Preparedness

​Got a business? Here’s what you need to know to avoid disruption after a fire, a storm, a pandemic, or an earthquake. It is courtesy of the Washington State’s Emergency Management Division’s Business Preparedness Website, that includes a ton of additional resources to help your business survive!

Step 1: Develop a Business Continuity Plan to ensure core functions and key personnel are identified and to ensure normal operations are resumed as quickly as possible.

Step 2: Promote Employee/Individual Preparedness:

Step 3: Conduct a Non-Structural Hazard Assessment of your workplace. Take steps to reduce potential impacts.

Step 4: Develop and test Emergency Evacuation and Shelter-in-Place at Your Business that includes site specific information for each business location.

Step 5: Take steps to protect vital records.

Step 6: Develop a communication plan:

Step 7: Review insurance coverage form on annual basis to ensure you have adequate coverage to meet your risk level.

Step 8: Learn how to drill/exercise using ICS principles. (Sample Earthquake Tabletop exercise).

  • Update plan to include changes from lessons learned.

Step 9: Complete the Key Vendors and Suppliers Form and ensure they have a Continuity Plan to validate integration of plans.

Step 10: Collaborate with local neighborhoods, community/volunteer groups, and businesses to promote disaster preparedness and plan for community recovery.

Step 11: Get to know your local fire, law enforcement, and local Emergency Management personnel; discuss their role and how you can support their response to your business if an event occurs.

Additional preparedness resources can be found in Washington’s Emergency Management Division’s Business Preparedness Portal

Business & Organization Preparedness Links

Key Online Resources

As you can see, there are PLENTY of resources out there already. The issue is finding current, state-of-the-art guidence and information that applies to the scale of business you are running.