With hurricane season upon us, it’s important to take stock of your emergency plan. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), every company, no matter its size, should have a disaster recovery plan. It’s estimated that 25% of businesses don’t reopen after a major catastrophe. Being prepared can help your business recover from a hurricane or other cataclysmic event. If you already have an emergency plan, see how it compares with the tips below. If you don’t have a catastrophe plan yet, keep reading to find out what yours should include.
The impact of disasters
According to a Federal Reserve report, in 2017 (the latest year for which data is available), 46% of businesses affected by a disaster reported asset losses of $1,000 to $25,000 and 19% lost more than $25,000. These numbers don’t include productivity losses due to reduced employee man-hours or business costs incurred during the disaster recovery process. That’s a lot of money for most small businesses.
Emergency preparedness can go a long way toward helping you safeguard important assets and data—and get your business operating again after a disaster. Here are nine things your company’s disaster plan should include:
A list of important phone numbers and addresses. Collect and maintain contact information for your employees, your banker, the people who handle your IT, etc. You want to be able to check on your employees as well as contact the people you’ll need to get your business reopened.
Backup copies of your hard drives, servers and data. If you expect to lose power or access to your building, take these backups with you when you evacuate. You don’t want to chance a disaster erasing your important files and business information.
Copies of your Insurance policies, mortgage or rental agreements. While you’re collecting them, make sure you have the right type of insurance coverage to help you recover from losses related to a natural disaster. You may need to add an additional rider to your policy, or you might find you’re underinsured and should increase your coverage. Take these documents with you when you evacuate and have backup copies stored somewhere safe.
A list of your business resources and assets. This should include your office equipment, software, etc. Try to organize it by what is most essential to get your business functioning again (computers, office chairs, coffee makers and more). It all gets listed.
A backup source of power. This may include batteries for radios to hear storm details, an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) for computers, charged power packs for cellphones or even a generator to run essential services in case of a longer-term power loss.
Have the right supplies. This includes items to help you prepare for a storm (boards, tarps, tools) as well as things you may need afterward (cleaning products, gloves, etc.). Water, shelf-stable foods and other just-in-case items are also good to have on hand.
Consider having a backup location. Is there another location you can use in the event your building is badly damaged? Figure out if that makes sense for your company, and, if so, create a list of what you need to get up and running there.
A day before, day of and day after list. Know who needs to do what as the storm approaches, what happens when it hits and who handles each necessary task in the immediate aftermath. This includes items like building protection (who helps tarp the roof or board the windows), equipment moving (if flooding is expected, move all electronics to higher ground), etc. You should also designate who turns off electronics before the storm hits. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has a helpful checklist to help you organize this part of your emergency preparedness plan.
A designated plan location. Once you’ve created your business’s emergency plan and trained your employees on how to put it into practice, you should keep copies in readily accessible locations. That way, you have them when you need them.
Now that you know what to do to prepare for an emergency, you can get started on your own plan. For additional emergency resources, visit the SBA or the U. S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. If you’d like to discuss how we can help you make sure your finances are in order, give us a call at 888.669.4050 or visit seacoastbank.com.