For many, September means back to school, football, the beginning of fall and gearing up for the holidays. But what I bet most don’t know, is that September is also National Preparedness Month.
Those that live along coastal areas and on fault lines have disaster plans in place for hurricanes and earthquakes. The worst natural disasters Ohioans have to worry about are tornadoes and occasional flooding. But that shouldn’t stop us from thinking about man-made disasters and the potential emergencies that may arise. Ready America, designed to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to emergencies, states that preparing for disaster goes beyond hurricanes and tornadoes:
“Emergency preparedness is no longer the sole concern of earthquake prone Californians and those who live in the part of the country known as ‘Tornado Alley.’ For Americans, preparedness must now account for man-made disasters as well as natural ones. Knowing what to do during an emergency is an important part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds count.”
It’s important to have a plan at home in case of a disaster, but how many people think about their company’s disaster plan? Do you know what your company’s disaster plan is, or even if it has a disaster plan? With small businesses making up 95% of all businesses, it’s vital to have an actionable business continuity program and effective solution to address what would happen if any or all of your critical business functions were compromised due to a natural or man-made disaster.
In light of National Preparedness Month, the Small Business Administration (SBA) offers the following tips for home and business owners to prepare for disasters:
- Develop a solid emergency response plan. Find evacuation routes from the home or business and establish meeting places.
- Business owners should designate a contact person to communicate with other employees, customers and vendors.
- Make sure you have adequate insurance coverage. Disaster preparedness begins with having adequate insurance coverage—at least enough to rebuild your home or business. Homeowners and business owners should review their policies to see what is or isn’t covered. Companies should consider business interruption insurance, which helps cover operating costs during the post-disaster shutdown period. Flood insurance is essential.
- Copy important records. It’s a good idea to back up vital records and information saved on computer hard drives, and store that information at a distant offsite location in fireproof safe deposit boxes. You should have copies/back-ups of important documents ready to take with you if you have to evacuate.
Consider implementing these strategies for your company. Agility Recovery Solutions, states that business interruptions can take many forms and seldom give us warning. And, what might constitute a nuisance to a large corporation could be a ‘disaster’ to a small or mid-size business. What’s more, nearly 90% of all companies unable to resume operations within five days after a disaster are out of business within a year.
For more information, check out these resources:
- Agility Recovery Solutions, a former division of GE with over 20 years of disaster recovery and business continuity experience, provides comprehensive, turn-key recovery solutions and testing options to businesses across North America
- Plan, prepare and stay informed with Ready.gov
- IRS.gov lists some simple steps that can help taxpayers and businesses protect financial and tax records in case of disasters