Tips for Preparing for
and Dealing with a Business Disaster
Every business is susceptible to a wide range of disaster threats that include natural events, man-made catastrophes, and accidents. Fortunately, with the right preparation and planning, your company can survive almost any disaster scenario. Here are several tips for preparing and dealing with a business disaster.
Purchase Supplies In Advance
Finding recovery supplies and material can be difficult after the onset of a disaster, especially during a large-scale regional event. Always have enough emergency supplies on hand to streamline recovery and remediation processes and keep your business operating. Useful items to buy in advance include:
- Backup generators and fuel
- Flood barriers
- Dust and air filtration masks
Businesses in tornado and hurricane-prone areas should keep an inventory of plywood sheets so windows can be shuttered quickly.
Designate an Emergency Management Team
An emergency management team is responsible for maintaining and restoring business facilities and services during a disaster, and every organization should have one. Often, emergency management teams are comprised of managers and senior administrative staff. Make sure that every member of your emergency management team knows their specific roles and responsibilities. Offer training opportunities that enable them to practice their roles under simulated disaster conditions.
Update Employee Communication Plans
Swift and clear communication is of utmost importance during disaster recovery. Regular and accurate updates and information should be distributed to staff, customers and suppliers. The most effective employee communication plans incorporate the following tools to keep key stakeholder information during a disaster:
- Phone trees
- Email and text message alerts
- Secure website portals
Store Vital Records and Data Offsite
Disaster recovery experts agree that important business records and data should be stored at a secure off-site location. Hardcopy records such as contracts, tax files, personnel documents and other vital business records are best protected at a commercial records center. Tapes and hard drives with backup data and other sensitive information should be stored off-site in a media vault.
Make Sure Your Staff Is Safe
Your number-one priority during a disaster should be making sure your employees are safe. If staff is onsite during a disaster, take a head count immediately to account for missing or injured persons. Keep first aid supplies in stock and easily accessible.
Contact Your Insurer
Besides understanding and updating your insurance coverage to cover a wide range of disaster circumstances, it’s important to contact your insurance company as soon as possible after a catastrophic event. The faster you do so, the sooner you can have your claim settled and collect any benefits.
Assess and Record Damage
Although your insurance provider will verify the damage to your business, it’s wise to photograph or damaged facilities, equipment, inventory and other lost business assets. Make sure to document the time and date of photographs and videos. Doing so can help settle potential claim disputes.
Activate Your Response Plan
After a disaster, how you respond within the first 48 hours is vital. Having a disaster recovery and business continuity plan can help you get back to business quickly. With disaster and business interruption scenarios considered in advance and concrete recovery procedures outlined and documented, hastily made decisions are minimized, increasing the chances of your business surviving. Make sure your response plan identifies key suppliers that can help your organization get back on its feet. For example, pick a document restoration partner in advance so you have a reliable resource for remediating water damage to your hardcopy documents and files.
Use the tips we’ve mentioned here to prepare your business for disaster and enable a quick recovery process.
Richards & Richards provides records and information management solutions for businesses throughout Nashville. For more information, please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.