Disaster Preparedness for Small Business

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Planning ahead for a disaster can save a business owner thousands of dollars in lost revenue due to structural damage, content damage, interruption of operations and employee displacement.  According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, over 40% of all companies that experience a disaster never reopen and over 25% of the remaining companies close within two years.  To minimize a disaster's impact, all business owners should have a business emergency disaster and recovery plan.  The following preparations provide an all hazards approach to protecting your business and employees should be included in your plan:

Review property insurance with your insurance agent to discuss adequate hazard, flood, wind and business interruption insurance.

Determine what emergency equipment and supplies are necessary to protect and repair your business if a disaster strikes. Consider including heavy plastic sheeting, duct tape, masking tape, sandbags, storm shutters, plywood emergency generator, a chain saw and tools.

Establish plans for protecting computers and files. Make backup files and store in an alternate location. Depending on the hazard, move any remaining files from the lower filing drawers of the ground floor to a higher elevation.

Shutter windows for high winds, sandbag doors for possible flooding and cover sensitive equipment with plastic sheeting.

Assemble insurance policies, financial records, inventories and other important documents. Make duplicates and store in alternate safe places.

Videotape or photograph the interior and exterior of the business before and after the disaster. This will assist you in verifying insurance and tax credit claims.

Establish an employee alert roster to notify employees during nonworking hours or off-shift time of the status of the business.

Arrange alternate payroll methods for your employees with your banking institution for after the disaster.

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