Can your business survive a major fire, hurricane, flood, or other natural disaster? The fact is 25 percent of businesses that are forced to close because of fire or weather-related disasters never reopen.
While you can’t lower the risk of a natural disaster like a hurricane, there are steps you can take to protect your company from nature’s wrath. Putting a disaster recovery plan in place – and reviewing it annually – is key to keeping your business secure in the face of catastrophe.
Here are some tips to help you plan ahead to better protect your employees, your customers, and your assets in the event of a natural disaster:
- Identify potential disasters and rank each one based on the likelihood it will happen. Then identify exactly how each one would impact your business. This will help you determine what issues you need to include in your disaster recovery plan.
- Review your insurance policy and its deductibles and limits. Talk to your agent or company representative to be sure you know exactly what coverage you have. If you aren’t covered for the potential disaster you’ve identified, add that coverage to your policy.
- Create an emergency response plan, then train employees how to carry it out. Be sure employees know the right person to notify about the disaster.
- Write out your plan step by step and assign responsibilities to employees. Practice the procedures set out in the emergency response plan with regular, scheduled drills.
- Test your plan regularly. During the drill you should test your security alarm as well as your fire alarm system. Be sure your business security system provider offers redundant communications and a back-up battery system.
- Make a list of important telephone numbers and addresses. Be sure you can reach key people after the disaster, including local and state emergency management agencies, major clients, contractors, suppliers, financial institutions, insurance agents, and insurance company claim representatives.
- Protect computer networks and data. Data storage companies offer off-site backups of computer data that can be updated regularly.
- Take an inventory of your business property and equipment. Don’t forget to write down the serial numbers. Note the price, as well as when and where you bought each item. You’ll need this information for your insurance company.
- Lastly, add environmental hazard detection to your business security plan. This can help monitor for a wide range of hazards including extreme temperatures, flooding, gas buildup, and more.
Remember, natural disasters can happen anytime, anyplace. Although you can’t do anything prevent them happening, if you follow these steps you’ll be better prepared when disaster strikes.
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