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Emergency Preparedness For Arts Professionals

Do you have a disaster plan?

 

If not, here is some information that may be helpful in putting one together.

 

When you start to develop your disaster plan, consider three subjects: human resources, physical resources and business continuity.

  • In what ways could a disaster affect your employees, your customers, and your workplace?
  • How could you continue doing business if the area around your facility is closed or streets are impassable?
  • What would you need to serve your customers even if your facility is closed or without power?

 

Suggested elements to include in your plan:

  • Keep phone lists of your key employees and customers with you, and provide copies to key staff members.
  • If you have a voice mail system at your office, designate one remote number on which you can record messages for employees. Provide the number to all employees.
  • Arrange for programmable call forwarding for your main business line(s). Then, if you can't get to the office, you can call in and reprogram the phones to ring elsewhere.
  • If you may not be able to get to your office quickly after an emergency, leave keys and alarm code(s) with a trusted employee or friend who is closer.
  • Install emergency lights that turn on when the power goes out. They are inexpensive and widely available at building supply retailers.
  • Back up computer data frequently throughout the business day. Keep a backup tape off site.
  • Use UL-listed surge protectors and battery backup systems. They will add protection for sensitive equipment and help prevent a computer crash if the power goes out.
  • Purchase a NOAA Weather Radio with a tone alert feature. Keep it on and when the signal sounds, listen for information about severe weather and protective actions to take.
  • Stock a minimum supply of the goods, materials and equipment you would need for business continuity.
  • Consult with your insurance agent about precautions to take for disasters that may directly impact your business. Remember, most policies do not cover earthquake and flood damage. Protect valuable property and equipment with special riders. Discuss business continuity insurance with your agent.
  • Keep emergency supplies handy, including flashlights with extra batteries, first aid kit, tools, and food and water for employees and customers to use during a period of unexpected confinement at your business, such as if a tanker truck over-turned nearby and authorities told everyone in the area to stay put for an extended period.