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Checklist: Emergency Preparedness for Human Resources


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

Employee Safety Training Topics

☐ 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.

HRIS/Employee Records

☐ 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).

Communications (Before, During and After Crisis)


☐ 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.


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