A natural disaster often happens with little or no early warning. In California, earthquakes are unexpected, offering no time to prepare. Is your business prepared for a natural disaster? Are your employees trained in procedures to help ensure their own safety and the safety of your customers? Will you be able to recover and resume business?
7 Essential Steps for Preparing Your Business
While nothing can prepare you for the difficulty of recovering from a natural disaster, having a plan in place and protecting yourself in every way possible will help limit the burden. Here are seven tips to get you started:
- Create an emergency plan. When you open your doors to your first employee or welcome your first customer, it is time to develop an emergency evacuation plan. Each employee should be trained to use evacuation routes when appropriate and identify strongholds for when the disaster calls for staying put. Similarly, each employee should know how to operate safety equipment such as fire extinguishers. Placing emergency signage throughout your place of business can help your employees and customers remain safe during a disaster.
- Have a survival kit. In the event of an earthquake, flash flood, or other disaster, it is essential to have the basic survival necessities at hand. Protect your employees’ ability to survive without power, water, or the ability to evacuate by storing food, water, a first aide kit, and other essentials at your business. Additionally, make sure everyone knows where to locate it. For more information on making a survival kit, visit redcross.org.
- Back-up essential electronic data. One of the most costly business losses associated with natural disasters is the loss of files, such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, inventory records, and client lists. By managing your business electronically, you are able to easily create backups of your files. Back-up your electronic data regularly, and store it on the cloud or in an offsite location.
- Carry appropriate insurance coverage. Following a natural disaster, many businesses remain unable to conduct business for a substantial amount of time while the building gets rebuilt, inventory gets reordered, and property gets repaired. Carrying appropriate insurance to protect your business will help you recover efficiently without losing everything in the process.
- Consult an expert. By having an expert evaluate your space for preparedness, you can evaluate the ways to add to your employees’ and customers’ safety. Many suggestions offered by experts, such as securing warehouse shelving or bookcases to the wall, can be put into place with a quick trip to the local hardware store.
- Identify a company communication strategy. If an emergency strikes, having an emergency communication strategy in place will save time and confusion. Make sure employees know how to communicate with each other and with clients. Base the emergency roles within the company on seniority as opposed to specific individuals, as emergencies can happen while key employees are unexpectedly out of the office.
- Plan for off-site operations. A major disaster may mean being unable to return to your place of business. By considering this possibility prior to an emergency, you can evaluate temporary locations in the area and develop a plan for resuming business operations as soon as possible.
Get Prepared with Expert Guidance
Each business has its own unique needs to survive a natural disaster. Your BenefitSource insurance professional is prepared to discuss your needs and ensure you are fully protected for the unthinkable. Call us directly at (877) 215-5431 or email us for more information.
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