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HughesNet Internet Continuity

How to Prepare Employees to Respond to an Emergency

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employee_emergency_training

Take a moment to ask yourself the following question: In the event an emergency takes place at my business, would all my employees know what they are supposed to do?

If you answered “no”– or if there was any hesitation in your “yes” or “maybe”– keep reading to learn how to train your employees to be ready for an emergency response to any unexpected situation. 

Benefits of Emergency Response Training

Emergency response preparation is just as critical to business operations as instructing employees on the day to day roles and responsibilities of their job. Though often overlooked in the employee training process, it can ensure business continuity in the event of an emergency or crisis. Benefits of emergency response training include:

  • Increases employee confidence and preparedness by having an established and consistent protocol in place, enabling more swift and efficient response.
  • Reduces risk of panic, confusion or overly delayed response time.
  • Improves communication and ensures everyone has a clear understanding of expectations if an emergency occurs.
  • Minimizes risk of injury or damage to physical property, reputation or customer retention or potential business downtime.

Who Should Receive Emergency Response Training?

Short answer: everyone. Any employee that works for or with your business– regardless of their position– has the ability to help in an emergency. They should all be aware of your protocols, participate in training, drills or simulations that are conducted and have access to the necessary tools and resources in case of an emergency. 

Three Stages of Emergency Response Training

There are three main stages of emergency response training for employees:

1. Initial Baseline Training: This is the primary, mandatory training for all employees at your business and should be conducted during initial onboarding or shortly after. This baseline training should cover your emergency response plan and highlight the procedures and policies specific to your business, addressing topics like individual roles and responsibilities, location of emergency resources and equipment, communication protocol and situational procedures (shutdown, shelter in place, evacuation, etc.). 

For more information on what to include in your emergency response plan, check out our post Every Emergency Action Plan Checklist Must Have These 9 Things.

2. Refresher/Reinforcement Training: This is secondary training aimed at building upon the knowledge and skills employees have already received in the initial training and should be scheduled at regular intervals. These reinforcement trainings often emulate real-life crisis situations– coming in the form of drills or simulations– and are useful exercises to allow employees to process emergency situations in a “safe” space and become accustomed to the protocols in place.

3. Enhanced Training (Retrospective): This is the third level of training that will occur on an “as-needed” basis, often after a mock emergency or actual emergency has taken place. This type of training can take the form of a Lessons Learned analysis to reinforce “dos” and “don’ts” in case of emergency. What’s more, employees should receive enhanced training to inform them of adjustments made to the emergency response plan after gaps are identified.  

Utilize the Lessons Learned Analysis

Generally speaking, a Lessons Learned analysis is conducted after a project, task or event’s conclusion to review the positive and negative experiences, compare expectations to reality, identify potential areas for improvement and evaluate alternative courses of action. 

In terms of emergency response, this analysis is an essential tool and should be conducted after any simulation, drill or real emergency situation that occurs at your business. The Lessons Learned analysis will allow you to identify what elements of your emergency response protocol worked well (and why) and what didn’t work well (and why), so that you can further refine, strengthen and improve your response plan and employee training.

Online Training Courses

In addition to in-person informational training, drills and simulations, online emergency response training courses can be utilized as supplementary resources or primary training if in-person training is not possible. Ready.gov provides a good starting point for identifying which kind of training you should provide for different groups of employees and can guide you in the direction of applicable online training resources.

When your employees are properly trained, your business is in a much better position to manage and recover from a crisis situation and maintain business continuity. Incorporating emergency response into your employee training will help to ensure your employees are equipped and ready to handle any emergency.

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