Nowadays, it’s more important than ever before for businesses to prepare for the unexpected. Unfortunately, that no longer pertains to just business matters. They also need to be ready for large-scale catastrophes that can potentially impact entire civilizations, commonly known as black sky emergencies. For instance, the odds of a solar flare today that can disrupt technology and communication are higher than ever. That’s just one example of how a business can have its daily operations disrupted without warning. Being prepared for a black sky emergency is something that takes a lot of planning and commitment. That’s why we wanted to share some of the best ways for your business to prepare to respond positively and survive a black sky emergency or any other type of disaster scenario.
The first part of any business-oriented black sky supply kit will be developing good infrastructure security, which entails securing the company’s key documents. Don’t put yourself in a position of having to start from scratch. If you want to have any chance of recovering from a catastrophe or operating amidst a disaster, protect your essential documents.
Companies should have records of their bank statements, tax records, client files, insurance policies, and other documents that are critical to business operations. Even if these documents aren’t necessary for the short term, they will be when trying to get back on track in the aftermath of a catastrophe. It’s also critical to have an emergency contact list with ways to contact local police and fire departments. There should also be a list of all employees with their contact information and next of kin’s contact information.
Always remember to have physical documents and backed-up digital copies on a cloud-based platform. The more methods of backing up the data you have in place, the less you’ll have to worry about losing these vital documents – no matter the type of emergency.
Weathering a black sky emergency won’t be a walk in the park. It will take experienced individuals ready to face whatever comes their way. In other words, it will take leadership.
The person or persons running the company will need to make critical decisions to keep the business organized and functioning as close to normal as possible. However, in a black sky event, there’s no way of knowing if the appointed leaders will be available to perform their duties and make the necessary decisions. And without leadership, the company will be consumed by chaos. With that in mind, creating a leadership chain of command for emergency situations is crucial.
So, if the person in a leadership position can’t be reached, who is the next person in charge?
Whoever you decide to put at the helm, be sure it is communicated to everyone in the company to ensure the transition happens as smoothly as possible during a disaster.
If you want to be ready for a black sky emergency, you must maintain a supply of emergency food and water onsite. When it comes to bottled water, there should be one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days. Keep in mind that this will need to cover water for drinking and cleaning, as well as sanitary reasons. Including water purification tablets in your disaster kit is also a good idea, especially since they will take up less physical space than bottled water. However, tablets alone won’t be enough during a black sky event.
In terms of food, the same three-day rule applies. There should be enough food to last each person for three days following a catastrophic event. The most important thing to remember is that this food should be non-perishable. Any meat, fruit, or vegetable that comes in a can is a viable option. The same is true of dry food, including cereal, dried fruit, peanut butter, and anything else that can be sealed safely without refrigeration. Just remember that disposable utensils and a manual can opener should accompany your food supply. It’s also a good idea to get in the habit of rotating and restocking your food and water supply once or twice every year to ensure that the food you have stored doesn’t expire should you one day need it in an emergency.
Whether they’re planning for a black sky event or not, every business should have a first-aid kit on the premises. In fact, in a large workplace with multiple buildings or employees on several floors of one building, it helps to have several first-aid kits scattered throughout the workplace in strategic locations to ensure that one is accessible wherever it’s needed. Plus, in a large-scale disaster, having multiple first-aid kits makes you less likely to run out of supplies.
Each first-aid kit in the workplace should include bandages, antiseptic lotion, gauze, and burn ointment. There should also be basic medical tools like tweezers and scissors, not to mention sterile gloves. Each kit should also come with non-prescription medications, including fever reducers and pain relievers, as well as contact lens solution. It’s also a good idea to ask employees to keep three days’ worth of any prescription medications they take on-site. These don’t necessarily need to be inside a first-aid kit, but they should be properly labeled and kept in a safe location, perhaps alongside the emergency food and water supply.
On top of food and medical supplies, companies can’t forget necessary hygiene-related supplies, including paper towels, garbage bags, and other obvious items that are likely on-site already. However, there should also be an emergency supply of hand soap, toilet paper, and antibacterial wipes and disinfectants. Regardless of the type of emergency, staying clean and hygienic in an emergency will be a priority. It’s also not a bad idea to have a portable toilet on the premises just in case water lines are not functioning during an emergency.
Most workplaces will have tools and equipment that will be useful for performing work. But, when it comes to a catastrophe, a different set of tools will be needed. Naturally, smoke alarms and fire extinguishers should be present in any workplace. Some businesses will also have dust masks, gloves, safety glasses, and other personal protective equipment. If your business doesn’t need these items for everyday use, it wouldn’t hurt to have some on hand in your black sky emergency kit.
Meanwhile, every workplace should have a healthy supply of flashlights and spare batteries, as well as simple tools like hammers, screwdrivers, and Swiss army knives that can help perform any survival tasks. It’s also important to have a map of the local area and a portable hand-crank radio to help you stay tuned into what’s going on elsewhere. Finally, additional clothing like ponchos, thermal blankets, and sleeping bags should also be a part of your emergency tool kit.
Of course, when it comes to the physical components of a black sky emergency kit, every company needs a storage place. The location of your storage area should be easy to identify and locate; otherwise, it’ll be useless. It’s also a good idea to use backpacks, plastic storage totes, and airtight plastic bags to store your supplies. The bottom line is to ensure your emergency supplies are secured in a designated area that won’t interfere with your normal business operations but can be easily accessed when needed during an emergency.
In any emergency, communication will become essential. Unfortunately, amidst a black sky catastrophe, you may not know what lines of communication are working and what communication methods will be unavailable. This is why a hand crank radio is essential for learning new information. However, you should have several backup methods of communication that you can use to keep in touch with off-site employees, as well as your customers and suppliers.
Every business should consider insurance to be a critical component in any black sky emergency kit. We don’t mean loading up on the most comprehensive insurance policy available. But it does mean regularly revisiting and evaluating your current policy to ensure you have a reasonable amount of coverage in the wake of a disaster. Do you have coverage in the event of a business disruption? Or do you need to rebuild a part of your business? At the same time, make sure as many company leaders as possible understand the policy and will know about the company’s limits and deductibles.
Creating a black sky emergency kit is one thing, but one of the most important elements of emergency preparedness is making sure your employees know what to do if a black sky catastrophe strikes. Your employees must know where and how to locate your emergency supplies. You should also train them on what items are in the black sky emergency kit and the purpose of each item. Every six months is usually a good time frame for giving employees a refresher course in the company’s emergency preparedness supplies and operations.
Keep in mind that depending on the emergency procedures and the leadership chain of command, some employees will have serious responsibilities during an emergency. Make sure everyone knows their role and understands what to do if something unexpected happens, which is why running an emergency preparedness drill in the workplace every now and then isn’t a bad idea. More than anything else, you need to make sure everyone is on the same page regarding what to do during a black sky event.
Know that you understand what to include in your black sky emergency kit, want to know the next steps to secure your business continuity? Reach out to us today to learn more.
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