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Plan to Stay in Business

Preparing makes good business sense. Be ready to assess the situation and available resources to take care of yourself, your co-workers and your business. You are not alone — there are Orange County resources available to help you, your business and our community. Above all, be informed about the kinds of disasters that most often affect Orange County businesses.

Need Help? The American Red Cross Ready Rating program is a free, self-guided program designed to help businesses better prepare for emergiencies.

Your employees and co-workers are your business's most important and valuable asset. Learn what people need to recover after a disaster.

Continuity Planning

  • Assess how your company functions, internally and externally, to determine which staff, materials, procedures and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep the business operating.
  • Plan for payroll continuity.
  • Define crisis management procedures and individual responsibilities in advance.
  • Develop relationships with more than one company in case your primary contractor is unavailable.
  • Plan what to do if your building, plant or store is not accessible.
  • Consider how to run the business from a different location or from your home.
  • Download a full sample Business Emergency Plan at

Emergency Planning

  • Include emergency preparedness information in your internal communications.
  • Identify staff members responsible for communicating regularly to employees.
  • Identify those with special needs end engage them in emergency planning.
  • Maintain open communications. Everyone should be free to ask questions and bring concerns to company leadership.
  • Frequently review and practice what you intend to do during and after an emergency with drills and exercises.

Evacuation Planning

Stay or go? Plan for both possibilities:

  • Create an Evacuation Plan and a Shelter-in-Place Plan for your business.
  • Plan to monitor TV or radio news reports for official instructions as they become available. Orange County authorities may or may not immediately be able to provide information on what is happening and what you should do.


Think first about the basics of survival: fresh water, food, clean air and warmth. Encourage everyone to have a personal kit or “Go-Bag” Kit customized to meet personal needs, such as essential medications.

  • Get a NOAA weather radio that automatically alerts you when a watch or warning is issued in your area.
  • Keep copies of important records in a waterproof, fireproof portable container.
  • Store a second set of records at an off-site location.
  • Talk to your co-workers about what emergency supplies the company can provide and what individuals should keep on hand.
  • Store a basic First Aid kit and tool kit in your office.
  • Have plastic sheeting and duct tape to "seal the room,” dust or filter masks and Garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation.


Fire is the most common of all business disasters. Each year fires cause thousands of deaths and injuries and billions of dollars in damage.

  • Work with the Orange County Fire Authority to keep your business fire safe.
  • Get your office, plant or facility inspected for fire safety; ensure compliance with fire codes and regulations.
  • Install smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in appropriate locations.
  • Consider an automatic sprinkler system, fire hoses and fire-resistant doors and walls.
  • Establish a system for warning your employees. Plan how you will communicate with people with hearing impairments or other disabilities and those who do not speak English.
  • Put a process in place for alerting the fire department.
  • Plan and practice how people will evacuate in a fire.


Workplace medical emergencies vary greatly depending on the disaster, type of job and the worksite.

Heavy equipment operators face different safety risks than do office workers or food service personnel. Regardless of the type of work, there are steps which can give you the upper hand in responding to a medical emergency.

  • Work with American Red Cross of Orange County to ensure your employees are trained in basic First Aid and CPR training. Offer on-site classes for your co-workers.
  • Keep First Aid supplies in stock and easily accessible.
  • Encourage employees to talk about medical conditions that may require support or special care in an emergency.
  • Keep employee emergency contact information on file and up-to-date. Store a copy with other vital records in your emergency kit and another at an off-site location.