Natural Disaster Planning For Your BusinessFeb 23, 2011
By Staff writer State Farm™ Employee
As a business owner, you know that some challenges are expected while others may appear with little or no warning. Don’t let a natural disaster catch you unprepared. Here are some steps you can take to protect your employees, secure your assets, and get your business back up and running in the event of a natural disaster.
Protect Your Employees
The safety of all onsite employees and visitors should be your first priority. Take the time to plan evacuation routes and exits from your facility and mark them accordingly. Installing proper emergency lighting will help show the way in case of power failure. You may also want to designate staff “safety wardens” to guide and assist any emergency efforts, including regular drills.
For some emergencies, taking shelter is the proper response. Identify appropriate shelter spaces in your facility and make sure that they are kept clear of any items that would limit their capacity or safety should their use become necessary.
For more information about emergency life safety procedures, visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Secure Your Assets
Effective disaster preparedness means protecting your critical business assets. These may include your facilities, equipment, software, and data.
Depending on where you are located, there may be measures you can take to harden your facility against natural disasters. Contact a qualified contractor to discuss risk mitigation construction techniques for your building or office. As an added precaution, you may also want to research places where you could temporarily relocate your operations if disaster strikes.
To protect other physical assets, it’s important to maintain a comprehensive, up-to-date inventory of the items and equipment used in your business. You may also want to videotape these items and then store both the inventory and the video in a safe location, away from your property.
Digital assets are increasingly important for all manner of businesses. Instituting regular backup procedures for critical software and data will help ensure that your business maintains access to the digital infrastructure it needs.
Get Up And Running
Following the disaster, you’ll want to resume business as quickly as possible. Keep a name and telephone number list of contractors or repair firms who could make emergency temporary repairs or board up windows should some of your buildings be damaged. You’ll also want to maintain a list of key suppliers, creditors, customers, and employees you need to contact about the state of your operation. Finally, construct a financial plan to cover continuing payroll expenses and debt obligations.
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