Did you know: According to FEMA, almost 40% of businesses never reopen after a disaster?

Every year, businesses find themselves impacted by unforeseen circumstances; tornados, hurricanes, ice storms, blizzards, and floods are all becoming more common occurrences. You put a lot of time and money into your business; considering this investment, putting thought and effort into proper disaster preparedness is just plain smart.

While many of us would rather “think positive” and avoid envisioning (and preparing for) emergency situations, it can help to start with some of the basics. How would your business be affected by a service interruption such as lost power, phone, water, electricity, or Internet connection? Naturally, personal safety for you and your employees is a major concern, and insurance coverage for your business property is a close second. Moving into a more sophisticated realm—after an emergency, how can you ensure that your business is fully functional as quickly as possible?

Form a disaster plan that includes:

  • Emergency response plans
  • Human resources
  • Technology resources, including back-up data and access
  • Communication plans
  • Employee assistance plans
  • Proper training
  • Utility information and back-ups
  • Methods for maintaining business continuity

Avoid making your strategy too complicated, and don’t forget to test and update the plan as needed. While it’s virtually impossible to anticipate every situation, flexibility is critical for a workable, scalable arrangement.

Here are some Business Disaster Guides to get you started:

  • Small Business Disaster Preparedness Guide – from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Designed to help you protect your employees and lessen the fiscal impact of disasters.
  • Disaster Loan Fact Sheets – also from the U.S. Small Business Administration. A resource helping businesses of all sizes determine if they are eligible for financial assistance .
  • Emergency Management Guide for Business and Industry – from FEMA. A step-by-step approach to emergency planning, response and recovery for companies of all sizes.

Planning for Employee Assistance and Aid

As you approach your planning, anticipate that you and your staff would need help during (and after) larger disasters.

  1. Start by having a complete list of emergency contact information for your employees.
  2. Reach out to them as soon as possible to make sure they are safe, and maintain clear communication.
  3. In the weeks following a disaster, offer flexible working hours or allow working from home as a way to help your team get back on track.
  4. If needed, provide professional counselors to help affected employees process their anxiety and emotions.

A major disaster affects employees personally, as well as professionally. Ideally, employers will help their team regain stability in both aspects of their lives.

Business Disaster Resources

After securing employee safety and well-being, the next step in planning should focus on safeguarding important business resources—services and assistance that will provide support for your specific crisis situation. Although every business will require unique planning, here are a few general resources to help begin the planning process:

  • Disaster Resource Guide for Business Continuity -This online disaster guide is set up to help you find information, vendors, and organizations that help you prepare and recover, while you keep your business running.
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) –The Protecting Your Businesses guide provides an overview on FEMA’s mitigation and insurance programs , and it suggests tools to make your business safer and more resilient to disaster.
    • SmartSource Rentals Computer and IT Technology Solutions for Disaster Recovery -When your business relies heavily on technology and an event occurs that leaves your technology destroyed or inoperable, you need a temporary, easy-to-implement solution that gets your business running again quickly. At SmartSource Rentals , we provide immediate short-term technology rental solutions to help you through the crisis. We can quickly re-establish ALL the technology needed for: 
    • Temporary Offices
    • Control Centers
    • Operation Centers
    • Response Team Environments
    • War Room Operations

Some disasters cannot be avoided; however, you CAN lessen the impact through proper planning and response initiatives—focusing on getting your business up and running, safely and quickly.

Article Resources:

  1. http://www.ready.gov/business
  2. http://www.networkworld.com/article/2174112/tech-primers/disaster-recovery-options-for-smaller-companies.html
  3. http://www.allbusiness.com/tips-to-help-employees-cope-with-disaster-4058091-1.html