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Today marks the 25th anniversary of Loma Prieta, the earthquake that ravaged San Francisco back in 1989. This last major earthquake, which lasted 16 seconds with a 6.9 magnitude, claimed lives and fundamentally changed many neighborhoods. So today, across social media and local news, the city is taking time to reflect on that fateful Friday, and remember where we all were.
As part of the anniversary commemorations, the city of San Francisco is asking people to do just one thing today to better prepare themselves for the next big quake. This can be anything from making sure your emergency earthquake kit is filled with all the essentials to having an out-of-state person to act as a central point of contact should you get separated from family members.
It struck me as I was listening to the advice being offered on the radio that little was mentioned about ensuring there was a plan in place at work. Obviously earthquakes can strike at any time, so it pays to be prepared for wherever you are.
While earthquakes might be of particular concern to those of us here on the West Coast, extreme weather and other unforeseen emergencies are something of which we are all at risk. I’ve written before about how ISO certification is a very positive thing for businesses on many levels, specifically regarding certification to the ISO 14001 standard and how achieving that has allowed us to speak to our sustainability credentials with confidence. This seems like a pertinent time to talk about the ISO 9001 certification, which we also hold.
ISO 9001 is the quality management certification which also provides a framework for disaster-preparedness. It requires thorough training for each staff member in the event of an emergency such as an earthquake. This includes such basics as having an agreed upon exit route and meeting point, ensuring everyone has each other’s contact numbers (and ideally a landline as mobile networks can be unreliable in the aftermath of a major event) but also ensuring everyone has an understanding of how the business will continue to function post-disaster and exactly what their role would be within that.
This may sound like simple common sense, and fundamentally it is just that. However, I believe the difference getting certified makes is that it turns something like disaster-preparedness into something we should be ready for into something we are ready for. We all know how the ‘shoemaker’s shoes’ scenario can come into play as business owners – we are so focused on our clients that time runs out for our own business needs. However, as well as protecting the safety of our employees, quality management certification means that we are doing everything we can to always provide the best quality client service – whatever the world throws at us.
If you’d like to find out more about our experiences and insight into gaining ISO certification, and whether it might be right for your business, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line.
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