Business Continuity Planning – Part 8 – In-house Shelter

In-House Shelter

During an evacuation, there may be instances when it is best to stay in your location and form a shelter in a special area within the building to avoid dangerous conditions outside.  In such situations, knowing how and where to take shelter can be a matter of life or death.  When it comes to disaster recovery,it is critical to understanding the impact of different threats and prepare for all the possibilities.

Below are a few tips for devising a sound in-house shelter plan:

  • Create a warning system.
  • Test the systems regularly to be sure that they work and everyone responds accordingly.
  • Be sure to account for employees or visitors in the building who have physical disabilities or do not speak English.
  • Make sure all employees are onboard and understand the importance of sheltering.  While you can’t force them to participate, knowing upfront can prevent confusion and encourage cooperation.
  • Make sure everyone is accounted for upon arriving to the shelter.
  • Check off employee names on a prepared roster.
  • Take a head count of all employees, customers and visitors.
  • Assign specific tasks to individual workers beforehand and keep track of their responsibilities.  Be sure to designate and train alternate employees in case the assigned worker is unable to perform.
  • Stock all shelter locations in advance with emergency supply kits.
  • Frequently practice the in-house shelter plan to make sure everything goes accordingly.

In-house Shelter Plan for a Tornado

When planning for a tornado, there are a number of specifics that must be covered to ensure adequate protection.

Instruct everyone to a cellar or basement, as they provide the best protection against tornados.

If no underground shelter is available, the next best option would be an interior room or hallway on the lowest level possible.  The same is true if your business operates out of a high-rise building.

Instruct everyone to huddle in the center of the room and stay away from windows, doors and walls.  Remain in the shelter location until receiving word that the tornado has completely passed.

When disasters strike, knowing whether to stay or go is a tough decision.  If the authorities instruct you to stay or leave, it is best to do so immediately.  However, because you may not have contact with the authorities, having an in-house sheltering plan is essential.

Leave a Reply