Natural disasters can hit businesses hard, destroying property and disrupting operations. According to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, about a quarter of businesses affected by a natural disaster event will fold because they’re unable to resume operations.
Smart business owners understand that natural disasters can affect their business, and they take steps to plan for these eventualities, such as having appropriate safety and protective gear on hand. Here are a few best practices business owners can employ to ensure their livelihoods aren’t swept away by a disaster.
- Draft an emergency response plan – Safety first! If your business has a physical location where employees work and customers visit, you need to have an evacuation plan in place in the event of a disaster or other emergency. You’ll need to make sure your location has all necessary safety gear, such as fire extinguishers and exit signs. You’ll also need to have protocols in place to ensure all employees and guests have safely exited your facility.
- Draft a business contingency plan – How will your business continue operations if a disaster strikes? What back-ups do you have for important data? A business contingency plan will address the issues of keeping your business operational in the event of a disaster. Your plan will include plans for temporary relocation, what operations are essential and what can be put on the back-burner, and whether you have adequate business interruption insurance. You’ll also need to have procedures in place for documenting damage to your facilities.
- IT – As a matter of course, it’s wise to have your company’s data backed up in a secure off-site location. Natural disasters aren’t the only adverse events that can impact your business. Cyberattacks and hacks could also compromise your business’s IT infrastructure, resulting in data losses. Having your data backed up will ensure that you can continue operations even if there are problems with technology at your location.
- Improve your property – Make upgrades necessary to help protect your business property from damage that likely natural disasters in your area could cause. For example, if you live in a storm-prone area, install impact-resistant doors and windows to protect your property from limbs and other debris that may strike during a hurricane, tornado, or another serious storm. Business owners in earthquake-prone areas may want to consult with a structural engineer to determine if any renovations could help their property better withstand an earthquake.
- Protective gear – If the nature of your business will require you or your employees to work in dangerous areas following a disaster event, having the appropriate protective gear is vital. High visibility shirts, HAZMAT suits, and other protective gear will ensure that employees are kept safe as they work with potentially dangerous materials or in hazardous situations.
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