In the event of disaster, you won’t have much time to think, gather your things, and get out. You’ll need to grab and go. And you might not be coming back for a long time, maybe not at all. You could spend months lamenting the important things you left behind, or you could spend a few minutes right now preparing your go-bag.
When it’s time to go, your business should already have its vital records backed up and stored offsite. You should have established partnerships with companies that can help you in your time of need. Your main objective should be to get yourself and others out of the building safely. You need to be ready to go without stalling to gather supplies. Having a plan and a go-bag ready allows you to focus on the immediate needs with the confidence that the other pieces are already in place.
Get a bag
First, you’ll need a bag. Think lightweight but durable, water resistant, something secure enough that you won’t be dropping things out of it on the run, an old backpack maybe. The bag should be easy to carry and allow you to keep your hands free. Of course, the bag needs to be large enough to carry all your necessities but still easy to carry.
Put your bag in an easy-to-grab location, like the back of your office door. You know exactly where your go-bag is because you use it all the time because you’ll need things in it that you use everyday, like your car keys.
What to pack
Make a list of what is in your office that you would absolutely need in case you had to leave and never return. You need to think survival: your immediate survival to evacuate and the survival of the business. A few ideas:
- Keys (car, house, office master keys)
- Cell phone (with emergency numbers saved)
- Wallet/photo ID
- Utility knife
- Bottles of water
- Non-perishable food
- Hand sanitizer
- Masks in case you need to protect against air particles
- Flash drives with data backup
- Copies of vital documents in waterproof sleeves (including your office disaster plan)
Where to park
So your building collapsed. You got out with your go-bag, but is your car underneath rubble? Park for evacuation. Park near the edge of the lot and avoid ramps if you can. Keep your vehicle facing forward so there’s no need to backup when you’re trying to make a fast exit.
Before disaster strikes, you have the advantage of time to think and time to gather together what you need in case you must leave quickly. Take the time now so that you can focus on evacuation later. You cannot predict how to respond to everything happening in the chaos of disaster, but you can prepare a thoughtful go-bag in advance, now, so you’re ready to grab and go. That way, when it’s time to put the business back together again, you’ll have everything you need, employees and records.