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Office of Emergency Management

Business & Organization Planning Tool

Every business and organization should have a plan. 

There are seven basic readiness steps for businesses and organizations. 


Develop a Plan


  • Create a planning team of key staff and stakeholders to brainstorm first steps.
  • Start by determining your core services and how you can safeguard them?
  • Identify your most immediate threat(s). Fire is the most common business threat.
  • Discuss where your customers/patrons will go if you can't provide service / goods?
  • Are there potential business opportunities following a disaster?
  • Utilize free resources like   
  • Coordinate with other building tenants.
  • Join Santa Monica Organizations Active in Disaster (SMOAID) 
  • Utilize the no cost Business or Non Profit Continuity Template. 
  • Get management by-in. 

Strengthen Human Resources


  • Ensure that employees are prepared with seven days of food, water and supplies.
  • Draft phone list of key employees and customers. Provide copies to staff or leave extra keys / alarm code with a trusted friend.
  • Give staff specific responsibilities so they know what to do in case of emergency.
  • Encourage direct deposit to ensure employee compensation.
  • Train employees in CPR / AED, First Aid and basic Disaster Preparedness.

Backup Data


  • Make on-site and off-site copies of:
    Lease records
    Insurance policies
    Current credit report
    Payroll records
    Tax records, accounting records
    Production records, customer lists, vendor lists
  • Backup and routinely update creditor and supplier contact information.
  • Consider remote internet backup. Ensure backup facility is far enough away to avoid damage from a large regional disaster, like an earthquake.
  • On-site and off-site copies of all hard documents. Consider scanning / digitizing hard records. 

Secure Facilities


  • Disaster proof work spaces and essential equipment.  Secure or remove heavy or sharp items from top shelves.
  • Bolt and brace water heater, which can often topple over and ignite fire.
  • Beware windows or framed artwork-glass will shatter and spray in a quake.
  • Establish a plan for communicating within your facility.  Consider short-wave radios.
  • Establish an external communication plan for your facility.
  • Know where utility shut offs are located and how to use them.
  • Maintain an inventory of equipment used in your business.  Keep records of maintenance schedules and service / warranty information.
  • Conduct regular drills, especially for fires and earthquakes.
  • Keep office stocked with emergency supplies: water / food, radio, first aid kit, fire extinguisher, flashlights & batteries, waterproof plastic bags, cleaning agents, portable generator, camera, etc. 

Safeguard Suppliers


  • Find out what your suppliers plans are to service your needs after a disaster.
  • Create a list of alternate suppliers.
  • Talk to your competitors about sharing resources.


Ensure Service Delivery


  • Plan for an alternate worksite if your facility is damaged or inaccessible.
  • How will you communicate with customers to explain alternate ways to reach you?
  • Ensure customer records are backed up and accessible.
  • Consider other ways to deliver your services or products, e.g. mutual aid agreements with other organizations and or vendors. 

Check Insurance Policies


  • Evaluate insurance coverage annually.  Do you know what to expect when you file a claim?  Consider a policy that will reimburse for business disruptions in addition to physical loss.
  • Become familiar with disaster business resources from FEMA and the Small Business Administration 


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200 Santa Monica Pier, Suite J, Santa Monica, CA 90401