Earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods – all can be devastating if not fatal to a small business. Disasters can prevent access to your business, can destroy vital records, and may even put employees in harm’s way. According to the American Red Cross, as many as 40% of small businesses do not reopen their doors following a disaster. Planning ahead and taking the necessary precautions can prevent your business from becoming just another statistic.
Below we have listed some steps to begin a disaster recovery plan:
Phone Lists. Compile a list of emergency numbers for employees so they know who to contact in the event of a disaster. The phone list should include emergency management agencies, key personnel, utility companies, insurance company/agent, suppliers, contractors, and the landlord if applicable.
Create an immediate response plan. Educate employees whom they should notify in the event of a disaster and what steps to take to prevent injuries or further property damage.
Develop a communication plan and venue. Decide what method would be best to communicate with your employees, vendors, and customers in the event your premises are inaccessible. Ideas could include email, website, or an offsite phone messaging system.
Keep duplicate records. Regularly back up your computer files offsite. Also talk to your software providers to see if there is a way to access that data outside of the office.
Create an emergency kit. Have emergency supplies available – water, first aid kit, and tools. Be sure all employees are aware where the kit is stored.
Review your insurance policy. In addition to insurance for your property, talk to your agent about Business Interruption insurance. This valuable coverage keeps income coming in when business comes to a halt.