Emergency contingency plan for business
Why do you need an emergency contingency plan?
One essential activity in developing your risk management plan is to make sure you have an emergency contingency plan. This plan can help you minimise the effects of interruptions to trade.
Some possible causes of interruptions to trade include:
- natural disasters such as floods or fires
- interruption to supply of power, fuel, or essential materials
- criminal damage
- an economic crisis.
An emergency situation can catch a business unawares. A quick reaction can help minimise financial damage caused by the interruption to trade.
If your business experiences a partial or total interruption to normal trading, use this checklist to help you get back on track:
- examine your legal responsibilities with a solicitor: who can help interpret employment contracts, leases, contracts of supply, insurance policies, and give advice on your legal options
- identify all current payments which can be delayed: for example, talk to suppliers about deferring payment of invoices temporarily until the business is trading again
- meet with your bank to discuss restructuring any business or personal loans: check if they are willing to delay loan repayments, mortgage payments and the like until the business is trading again
- contact your regular suppliers to advise of your situation: if possible give them an approximate date when you will resume business. If necessary, work out alternative arrangements
- contact your leasing company: discuss alternate payment arrangements
- communicate with the landlord: make arrangements such as temporarily deferring rental payments with an arrangement negotiated for the business to catch up with rent once trading resumes
- contact your industry association: see what information is available. Industry associations can often assist with information on employment contracts, alternate suppliers, and consultants who may be able to help you manage the emergency
- contact your clients/customers to advise of your situation: if possible give them an approximate date when you will resume business. If necessary, work out alternative arrangements – similar businesses in your network may be able to assist with supply of product or services.
Workplace Emergency Management Manual (WEMM)Use WEMM, a simple online tool that can assist your business to create a plan for emergencies. It is based on Australian Standard (AS) 3745-2010 Planning for Emergencies in Facilities. This tool is the first of its kind in Australia, and is designed to make emergency management planning more accessible for smaller businesses that may not have the resources to undertake extensive emergency plans.
Critical Information List: contact list for the unexpected
There is no warning for the unexpected, so a critical information list can make it easier to hand over the running of a business to others. To create your list, use the Critical Information List (DOC 218 KB) template.