Disaster Preparedness for Small Businesses

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Over the past few months, several storms have devastated families and businesses across the country. In most cases, families have emergency kits to help them weather the storm and insurance to help them rebuild afterwards. However, outside of a fire evacuation plan, small business owners may not consider the need to have a disaster preparedness plan.

Below is a list of tasks to consider when developing your own plan:

  • Determine what steps you need to do to protect your place of business. Even if you do not own the building, you still need to protect your assets.
  • If you are a manufacturer or keep products in stock, consider the bare minimum you would need to re-open if your building is damaged. It may also be a good idea to keep extra supplies stored off-site so that you can still sell from a temporary location until your facility is up and running.
  • Have a travel and communications plan in place for your employees; they are your most important assets. Decide at what point in the warning process you will evacuate, how you will communicate the need to evacuate, and how to check-in after the storm. Also make sure you have contact information for your venders, suppliers, and customers on hand.
  • Make sure you understand your insurance policies. Did you know most policies do not cover flood damage?
  • Business interruption insurance compensates you for the income lost if you have to close your company temporarily.
  • Try to keep electronic copies of pertinent information such as payroll, accounting, taxes, etc, stored off-site. Many companies offer cloud storage for a nominal price.

Remember, your business meets the needs of your family, your employees, your customers, and the community in which you serve. Be proactive about protecting it.

You can visit the following websites for preparedness resources: Small Business Administration, Institute for Business and Home Safety, and Ready.gov.

Photo Credit:  George Stojkovic at freedigitalphotos.net

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