When you created your business’s emergency plan, you were thinking of big storms, a fire, or some other natural disaster. There’s a good chance that protesting, riots, and civil unrest didn’t factor into your plan at all. As a business owner, maintaining your business activities as much as possible is important, but you also have a responsibility to protect your employees and your facilities — especially during times of civil unrest.
Here are a few tips and things to do to protect your business.
Protect Your Employees
Only you can decide if business will continue as usual as protests occur. If so, consider these tips to keep your employees and yourself as safe as possible.
- Discourage travel into the areas where protests are scheduled. You may want to do this as early as the day before the event until after the protest is over and the area has been cleared of people.
- Expect road closures, irregular traffic patterns, and delays. It will take you and your employees longer to get to and from work or anywhere else.
- Avoid scheduling meetings in the area where protests will be held.
- Work remotely when possible or alter schedules to bring employees in before the protests or to have them leave after the protest is over.
- Consider casual dress for employees if their uniform or your business logo could incite heckling or negative reactions from protestors.
- Make sure you have current contact information for your employees and set up a phone tree so they can be easily contacted.
- Encourage your employees to avoid the protests or the areas where they will be held and to avoid interacting with protestors.
Protect Your Business
As protest activity ramps up in your area, it’s important to make plans to protect your business so you can continue to operate during and after any civil unrest as well as possible.
- Review your Business Continuity Plan (BCP). This is a document that will help keep your business running during and after any period of recovery.
- Check safety systems at any facilities you operate in the area or city where protests will be held. This includes emergency lighting and evacuation plans.
- Test your security tools including alarms, notification systems, and surveillance tools.
- Schedule or reschedule meetings for times outside of the planned protest events, in case of civil unrest.
- Make sure your business has enough supplies on hand — food, water, and other consumables — in case a shelter-in-place order is issued.
- Monitor local news and websites as well as social media so you can adjust business operations on short notice.
Protect Your Facilities
During times of civil unrest, destruction of property and looting is a very real threat. Prepare yourself and your employees for this as early as possible.
- Make sure employees are alert for signs of unusual activity and know who to report this information to.
- Think about alternate forms of communication as cell phones may go down/become unusable during intense activity.
- Conduct a risk assessment for each building and facility that’s part of your business that is likely to be exposed to protest activity.
- Evaluate the anticipated threat and any potential impact, as well as the company’s potential to be a target.
- Review the facility itself to identify critical points and vulnerable areas.
- Review your response plans to find weak spots and shore them up.
The right to free assembly and to make our voices heard is one that every American should be proud to have. But as a business owner, you also have to consider the impact on your business when protest leads to unrest. Destruction of property and harm to employees is a real threat. Take precautions now to protect your business and your employees. Contact Charlotte Insurance for any questions related to your business insurance coverage as it relates to civil unrest. We’re here to help.