Emergency Preparedness: Make Sure You Have a Plan for Your Organization

On 9/11 when most everyone was fleeing downtown DC, FC2 Trustee Leona Agouridis was headed in the opposite direction—to Metro Headquarters to help handle Metro’s response. It was a day she will never forget. The streets were utter chaos. The only way to get around was on foot or Metro. Locally on the block level, no one knew what was going on or what to do.

Leona, now Executive Director of the Golden Triangle BID, wants to make sure her neighborhood will be ready for whatever crisis gets thrown its way—whether it’s an active shooter, a car ramming, an explosion or a natural disaster. As a result, the Golden Triangle has developed an extensive safety and security program that includes “tabletop” training events twice a year.

Emergency preparedness should be a CEO-level priority. It is worth senior management’s time to learn how their organization can prepare. Of course your employees’ safety is of paramount importance. So is business continuity. What happens if, for example, your office is closed for several weeks? Can you still process payroll or pay vendors? What business functions can continue? You would want to plan for how to keep essential parts of your organization running.

In the event of a crisis, emergency preparedness follows the same general guidelines. You must have situational awareness and make quick, deliberate decisions. Be ready with your own plan and think through multiple scenarios. Be familiar with taking the stairs. Office-wide drills always help. Does your office have a plan—that has been discussed and rehearsed among staff—in the event of an active shooter? A little preparation goes a long way when an emergency hits.