Important Disaster Preparedness Tips for Small Businesses
BY: VESELINA DZHINGAROVA ON THURSDAY, AUGUST 31, 2017
Hurricane Harvey is devastating the Gulf Coast, causing many losses in terms of life and property. This natural disaster is also proving to be a learning opportunity for the non-affected areas, especially for small businesses. The coastal and urban region Harvey is pummeling through is home to numerous small businesses. Most will be reporting devastating losses when the storm clears. No region is truly safe from natural disasters. Even if you are not located in Harvey’s pathway, all small businesses should take notice of the damage natural disasters can cause. Here is a list of very important tips small businesses should use to prepare for potential natural disasters in the future.
Have an Emergency Plan in Place
The business should have a plan for natural disasters, as it does for things like lawsuits, PR gaffes, or employee complaints. The emergency plan should address evacuation, giving out alerts, and possibly getting involved in aid efforts. As a business, your first priority would be to ensure the security of your employees, then merchandise. Make sure the emergency plan is adequate for any natural disaster.
Get Insurance Coverage
Find out what the most common natural disasters are in your region, and then immediately purchase adequate insurance coverage, says veteran management consultant John Burgess. You can contact the local meteorological or energy departments to find out if your business is located in a floodplain or a similar vulnerable area. Get an insurance policy that adequately covers this vulnerability. It should be noted that if insurers are offering really cheap policies, your business might be located in a more risky area than you think.
Set Up an Internal Emergency Response Network
What if a natural disaster strikes while your employees are still on the clock? The company should be able to respond in a timely manner and get employees to safety. To do that, the business should set up an internal communications network. This could mean sending emergency texts to employee’s phone on time. In addition, the network should also incorporate people liaisons who can check up on colleagues. Connect the network to local emergency response systems as well. Don’t forget to connect the network to the emergency alert system.
Back Up All Data
Most businesses rely on digital data. If a storm, a flood, or a wildfire strikes, the company could actually lose hardware that contains important business information. Power outages during natural disasters could also cause data to get corrupted. Therefore, back up all data in a safe location anticipating a disaster. Start backup procedures as soon as weather news of natural disasters breaks.
Get Ready to Physically Secure the Business
Last but not least, you will need to secure the physical premises of your business. Small shops are often boarded up. You can use steel instead of wooden boards to give your store extra security during harsher disasters like tornadoes and hurricanes. Make sure there are boards and supplies ready at hand to use if necessary in a hurry.
Disaster preparedness if absolutely necessary for business survival. Pay attention to the above to protect your business in case of another Hurricane Harvey, or worse.
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