Being prepared will help you to cope with the effects of a disaster.
Copyright Cathy Stucker
Have you given thought to what you would do if your home and business were threatened with disaster? Have a plan in place and prepare well in advance. Some disasters, such as hurricanes, come with warning and time to prepare. Others, such as earthquakes, can happen at any time. Knowing in advance what to do can save your business—and maybe even your life.
We have all seen the devastation from hurricanes, fires, floods and more. Once the immediate crisis has passed, survivors face many challenges as they begin the process of cleaning up and starting over. If you are ever faced with the challenge of recovering from a disaster, there are things you can do now to make the process a bit easier.
First, know what disasters you may face. In addition to the forces of nature, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and earthquakes, any business is subject to fire and other losses. Each may require different action to safeguard life and property.
The most important consideration is the safety of the people involved. Have a plan in place to protect the safety of staff and customers. How can they be safely evacuated? If your staff must be available to customers during or after a disaster, how can they work safely? Have a system in place for employees to check in after a disaster so you can know they are safe and let them know when operations will resume.
Examine your insurance policies to verify that you are protected from the financial effects of disasters. Is your coverage adequate to enable you to replace your building, equipment, inventory and materials and resume business?
Have documentation for anything covered by insurance, such as receipts, photos, etc. Keep it in a safe place, away from your business.
Don’t forget your data. Back up your data regularly and store a copy offsite. There are many companies that provide online data backups, so you can upload your files to a server that is located far from your office. In a pinch, back up your data then ship the CDs or disk drive to a distant location, such as a friend or family member in another state.
Keep important documents together in a file that can be located quickly if you need to evacuate. Consider scanning some documents and loading the scans on a CD. Then store the CD in a safe place.
Have a recovery plan for how you will deal with the aftereffects of a disaster. Know ahead of time what resources you will need and where you will get them. Know how you will communicate with customers to let them know what is happening, what they can expect from you, and how they can reach you.
When a disaster occurs, follow your plan. Knowing in advance what you will do can mean the difference between being able to recover from a disaster, or your business becoming a casualty.