Business owners are not the only ones who should think about how to be prepared for an emergency at work. The American Red Cross states: “If you commute to work, make sure you know alternative routes and carry appropriate supplies such as a disaster supplies kit in your car and a compact kit on public transportation…The best way to make sure you and your place of business is safe is to be prepared before disaster strikes.”
Even if you do not think you are in a disaster-prone area, many things can happen when least expected. A key thing to remember is that disaster recovery should begin before the disaster for the sake of business continuity. Just like one looks at risks from a financial and economical standpoint, one should also look at them from a physical point of view. Up to 25% of small businesses do not reopen after a major disaster because they were not prepared with a plan. Not making an emergency plan is something your business should not risk. Here are some tips one may wish to include in their business emergency disaster plan:
- Keep phone lists of your key employees and customers with you, and provide copies to key staff members.
- If you have a voice mail system at your office, designate one remote number on which you can record messages for employees. Provide the number to all employees.
- Arrange for programmable call forwarding for your main business line(s). Then, if you can’t get to the office, you can call in and reprogram the phones to ring elsewhere.
- If you may not be able to get to your office quickly after an emergency, leave keys and alarm code(s) with a trusted employee or friend who is closer.
- Install emergency lights that turn on when the power goes out. They are inexpensive and widely available at building supply retailers.
- Back up computer data frequently throughout the business day. Keep a backup tape off site.
- Use UL-listed surge protectors and battery backup systems. They will add protection for sensitive equipment and help prevent a computer crash if the power goes out.
- Purchase a NOAA Weather Radio with a tone alert feature. Keep it on and when the signal sounds, listen for information about severe weather and protective actions to take.
- Stock a minimum supply of the goods, materials and equipment you would need for business continuity.
- Consult with your insurance agent about precautions to take for disasters that may directly impact your business. Remember, most policies do not cover earthquake and flood damage. Protect valuable property and equipment with special riders. Discuss business continuity insurance with your agent.
- Keep emergency supplies handy, including-
- Flashlights with extra batteries.
- First aid kit.
- Food and water for employees and customers to use during a period of unexpected confinement at your business, such as if a tanker truck over-turned nearby and authorities told everyone in the area to stay put for an extended period.
Learn more about developing a disaster plan for your business. Disaster recovery services can help one preserve documents and data, restore damaged documents, rebuild after a fire or water damage, and even deal with mold. Include a disaster recovery service in your business’ emergency plan.