As the terrifying Hurricane and Tropical Storm Ian pummels Florida, it’s probably a good time to consider your company’s disaster plan. Here’s a detailed “Emergency Preparedness Checklist” provided by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

This checklist includes considerations for Human Resources (HR) in planning for emergencies. A multidisciplinary emergency planning team should be established within the organization to include members of the HR department.

☐ Types of hazards and emergencies.
☐ Evacuation procedures.
☐ Shelter-in-place locations.
☐ Lockdown procedures.
☐ First aid supplies.
☐ Automated external defibrillators (AEDs).
☐ Assistance for employees with disabilities.
☐ Communication methods.
☐ Emergency response team members and contact information.
☐ Staffing expectations—essential employees, offsite work, layoffs.

☐ Maintain electronic records for all employee information.
☐ Ensure that electronic files are backed up and maintained at an offsite location.
☐ Confirm offsite access to electronic files for HR and management.

☐ For outsourced payroll, confirm that the payroll processing organization has offsite data storage and a continuity plan should the payroll company’s processing location be impacted.
☐ For in-house payroll, determine how payroll will be processed in the event that the payroll office is not accessible.
☐ Determine how live checks will be distributed to employees in the event the office is closed.
☐ Determine how direct deposit will be processed if the bank is impacted by disaster.

☐ Maintain current contact information for all benefit plans and administrators.
☐ Determine how eligibility data will get to the administrator in the event the HR department is closed.
☐ Determine how payments will get to vendors for monthly premiums or funding for benefit plans.
☐ Determine how 401(k) hardship withdrawal requests will be processed.
☐ Ensure that an EAP service is available for impacted employees (knowing that a local service may be strapped at the time).

☐ Establish companywide communication systems to keep employees informed, including how to communicate if an area is affected by major power outages.
☐ Ensure managers maintain a contact list of personal phone numbers and e-mail addresses for department employees, and identify a staff person to be responsible for updating company intranet with critical status updates for employees.
☐ Require managers to develop a contact process to inform and/or locate department employees in the event of a disaster. Establish a combined organizational plan.

☐ Establish who will ensure all employees are located and accounted for and provide emergency response teams with information on missing employees.
☐ Determine who will contact family members and how, as warranted.
☐ Determine how to keep key employees informed of operational needs, and who should share relevant information with all employees.

☐ Provide employees with appropriate EAP information for counseling or other assistance.
☐ Ensure a process for ongoing communications to keep employees informed of status updates and responsibilities.

☐ Maintain a backup of the applicant database.
☐ Determine a means to communicate with applicants to provide status updates.
☐ Determine an alternate recruiting method if not able to return to the office for a period of time.

☐ Determine employee pay and benefit obligations should business operations cease.
☐ Ensure that legal documents in electronic format are properly backed up and paper records are stored in a manner to limit damage and/or loss.
☐ Maintain current contact information for state and federal agencies in the event that required filings are delayed.