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Preparing Your Business for a Natural Disaster

Severe weather occurrences such as hail, windstorms, floods and other natural disasters always strike when you least expect them. In fact, according to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, it’s estimated that 25 percent of companies are unable to resume operations after a major disaster. Whether your business staffs dozens or hundreds, disaster planning is a worthwhile investment to protect essential business resources when the next emergency hits. Here are ways you can prepare.

Create a Business Continuity Team

When the worst-case scenario happens, you’ll want to have someone in charge of coordinating all disaster recovery methods to ensure minimal disruption to your regular business operations. If you’re a small to medium-sized business, this can be just one aspect of an employee’s responsibility. If you’re a larger company, you may be able to employ a full-time business continuity manager.

Come up with a reliable emergency response plan

Don’t wait until the disaster strikes to organize an emergency response plan. Be disaster ready by preparing a plan now. Make sure you have a good understanding of the effects of a disaster, the actions needed to respond to and recover from these events, and what can be done to mitigate future losses.

Create a survival kit

You don’t want to be stuck looking for things in a panic. Put together a survival kit with disaster essentials, such as a flashlight, plastic sheeting, garbage bags, first aid kit, etc. Consider storing a digital camera or smart phone as well to take photos of the property damage for your insurance company.

Back up all your electronic data

Make that a double back up. Save copies of critical files and records — including accounting and employee data, customer lists and files, company branding files (logo, sales collateral) and inventory in an offsite facility and with an online data backup service provider. Having access to this data as you recover from the disaster will be well worth the cost and effort involved.

Have a communication plan in place

During emergency situations like natural disasters, you have to make sure you’re communicating with your internal team. Managing the message internally can make or break the success of a recovery. For example, you can implement an emergency message service that directs your employees regarding work and emergency services.

Establish an alternate workspace

The great thing about technology today is that it allows you to work from pretty much anywhere as long as you have access to an electronic device and the internet. Invest in technology that allows you and your employees to work remotely from a variety of alternate locations.

Review your insurance coverage

If you decide to forego all of the suggestions listed above, consider taking this one to heart – speak with a knowledgeable insurance agent to make sure you have the right amount of insurance coverage, including flood insurance – before disaster strikes. It can save your business.

So how prepared is your business for a natural disaster? Sound off in our comment section below!

All insurance policies are different. Be sure to review your insurance policy for specific information about coverages available to you. Nothing in this post is meant to suggest a guarantee of coverage.