Natural disasters, whether weather-related or a virus such as COVID-19, can affect businesses of all sizes. However, if you have a disaster preparedness strategy in place, you can help minimize the issues and set your business up for quick recovery.
A disaster response program is good for business. Still, it is a difficult thing to develop, as there are a variety of disasters and emergencies that your business could face. In other words, it’s nearly impossible to have a plan that includes a response to all possibilities.
Nevertheless, a disaster preparedness strategy can be an essential tool in case the unexpected does occur. It will hopefully mean fewer days out of business, better communication with customers, and a better settlement from your insurer.
What Tools to Include in Your Disaster Response Program:
1. Identify Risks
What kind of disaster is likely to be a threat to your business? Are you working on a flood plain or earthquake fault line? Or is it more likely that your business will suffer significantly from a global pandemic, such as COVID-19, because your business relies heavily on foot traffic? Once you have identified your risks, it’s time to put a plan together.
Do what you can to avoid disaster, prevention is better than cure – or so the saying goes. Ways to prevent internal disasters include conducting regular system checks of your safety systems; regular maintenance on the HVAC system, plumbing, and electrical appliances; and regular training for staff on natural disaster evacuation plans and fire prevention.
3. Develop a Plan
Appoint a disaster plan coordinator to develop a plan that addresses three essential points:
- Keeping employees safe
- Securing dangerous objects or chemicals
- Keeping your business running
This plan should also include: An evacuation plan with primary and secondary exit routes, an emergency contact list, a list of employees to stay on-site to perform essential functions, a trained team to be responsible for medical duties, and a designated outside meeting place to account for all employees during an emergency.
4. Emergency Contacts
Ensure your list of contacts doesn’t only include the key emergency responders (fire, hospital, police, disaster relief agencies) numbers on it, but also employees’ emergency contact numbers, insurance information, and information of key customers, suppliers, and distributors too.
5. Emergency Kit
Create a kit with essentials such as first aid supplies, flashlights, battery-powered radio, tool kit, extra batteries, nonperishable food, and bottled water. Most importantly, have it easily accessible during an emergency.
6. Protect Data and Records
Keep essential documents in a safe that is resistant to fire, heat and burglary. Make sure you have your important working files and documents stored in the cloud or a location separate from your primary facility.
Remember to review your policy, the limits, and nature of your coverage. If you are not happy with what is not covered, chat to your insurance company about making some changes or find another one that can offer a policy that’s better suited to you and your business.
8. Getting Back to Work
What we have all learned from COVID-19 is that sometimes business needs to go on, even if we are unable to return to the work premises. How can companies carry on with business if their property is destroyed or employees are unable to return? Look into how a work-from-home policy would work – can key employees access work via the cloud, do they have the necessary hardware, are employees familiar with online team management programs?
Ask the Professionals
BMS CAT works with customers to develop an emergency response plan for businesses, the Priority Disaster Response Program (PDRP). We will discuss and identify priorities for your company, perform a property walkthrough, set expectations, and outline procedures to follow should a disaster occur. The program allows us to provide a better overall experience should a disaster strike, because all the red tape is taken care of already.
The Benefits of the Priority Disaster Response Program:
- No cost or contractual obligation
- 24/7/365 emergency response
- Priority response in the event of a community-wide disaster
- Pre-registration of your facility’s ‘vital statistics’ for customized, more efficient disaster response
- Priority Response Consultant and Project Coordinator assigned to manage your account personally.
To learn more about the PDRP, call 877-899-0676.