Disasters can strike anytime, and an actionable plan can help you prepare and recover after a severe event occurs. 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 determine what yours should include.
According to a FEMA report, 40% of small businesses do not reopen after a disaster, and of the ones that do, 25% fail within the first year.
Emergency preparedness can go a long way toward helping you safeguard important assets and data—and get your business operating again after a disaster.
Collect and maintain contact information for your employees, your banker, the people who handle your IT and others who help your business run, day-to-day. You want to be able to check on your employees, as well as contact the people you’ll need to get your business reopened.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 list of helpful checklists to help you organize this part of your emergency preparedness plan.
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, contact your local banker using the form below.