Implementing a Natural Disaster Preparedness Plan for Your Business

Hurricane Sandy dealt a devastating blow to small businesses throughout the eastern United States. This was a stark wakeup call for many businesses that forget they aren’t immune to the wrath of Mother Nature. You may want to setup a natural disaster preparedness plan in case a natural disaster strikes your business. Here are some elements that you may want to take into consideration when you are developing a natural disaster preparedness plan.

Develop a Plan to Ensure Your Business Can Keep Going When Possible

You will want to avoid shutting down your business unless it is completely unavoidable. Customers in some lines of business have little forgiveness for a business that stops providing support unless absolutely necessary. One of the best solutions is to have an alternate site that you can use to run your business that may not be affected by the emergency, such as another area of town that would probably be more isolated from the disaster. You should have backup resources in place at any other site that you will be running your business out of.

Conduct a Risk Assessment

Evaluate your business carefully to identify any problems you could face during an emergency. You won’t be able to prepare for an emergency unless you know what the weak points in the chain are. Assess your business for any structural flaws. Try to patch them up as best as possible and make sure you have a procedure to help you protect yourself in case of an emergency.

Have a Communications Plan in Place

Natural disasters often create problems for cell phone carriers, which lead to a number of service disruptions. Make sure you have a system in place to communicate effectively in case you lose cellular service. According to an expert from BDO Consulting, you should try to get used to using texting in case you lose phone service.

Most phones can still send text messages during a natural disaster because the signals aren’t disrupted as easily. You might also save time and bandwidth by communicating with all your employees at once by pinging them on Twitter. Make sure they know to set their mobile devices to notify them when they receive a twitter message. Make sure you connect with all of your employees as soon as a disaster strikes so they know what is going on.

Know How to Get Coverage From Your Insurance Plan

Many business owners aren’t clear on what forms of coverage their insurance policy will help them with. Make sure that you have verified the terms of your policy and have ensured that you will be protected in the event of a flood or natural emergency. Check with your insurance agent or call the National Flood Insurance Program to purchase coverage. Your coverage will probably not be activated for 90 days, so make sure that you have it in place long before you hear about a potential emergency.

You also want to make sure that you can verify the damages that you have suffered during the disaster. Take pictures and videos of your property to show what it looked like before and after the accident. This will help the actuaries from insurance company assess the damages and compensate you accordingly.

Be Prepared for an Emergency

Natural disasters can strike with only a couple of days’ notice. Some disasters will be a complete surprise. Two earthquakes struck Spain last year in an area that had very little seismic activity. Most people didn’t expect them at all. You will need to make sure that you are prepared for an emergency before one strikes.

Kalen is a business and procedural advice columnist who talks about degrees such as the emergency management masters programs.