Blog – Disaster Preparedness, Disaster Recovery

Common Problems that Businesses Face Following Natural Disasters

Some of the things that business owners don’t expect in regards to natural disasters are the direct economic losses that follow an incident. These losses are multiplied for those who aren’t properly prepared. By knowing what type of problems to expect after a disaster, natural disaster recovery can be a smoother, faster and a more cost-effective process.

Earthquakes

Earthquakes are hard to prepare for because they happen without warning. The resulting damage depends on factors like the quake’s magnitude and extent. Problems can come in the form of:

  • Hazardous waste
  • Property damage
  • Structural damage to buildings
  • Loss of utilities like electricity and water
  • Debris cleanup and waste management solutions
  • Infrastructure-related problems such as closed roads and communication losses

Floods and Hurricanes

The problems that follow events like floods and hurricanes are similar in nature and include:

  • Floodwaters, septic systems, and wells contaminated with hazardous materials and/or raw sewage
  • Water- and mold-related property and structural damage
  • Taking inventory of materials and documents that are salvageable, coordinating with professionals to start the recovery process
  • Waste management in regards to getting rid of disaster debris, eliminating excess water, and throwing away porous materials affected by water and mold
  • Road closures
  • Supply chain problems such as delayed deliveries

Wildfires

Wildfire damage depends on the size and extent of the incident. Problems that wildfires cause include:

  • Poor air quality
  • Closed roads
  • Delayed deliveries and other supply chain issues
  • Property and structural damage, including water damage, caused by the fire and/or firefighters
  • Waste management solutions for items like ash, building rubble, and charred materials
  • Document recovery

Tornadoes

Like earthquakes, tornadoes can appear without notice. If you’re lucky, you have a couple of minutes to prepare. Tornadoes cause problems like:

  • Power losses
  • Structural damage
  • Water contamination
  • Document and property destruction
  • Debris formed by the tornado
  • Waste management-related problems
  • Exposure to hazardous waste, hazardous building materials, or chemical spills

Snow and Ice

Severe winter weather can lead to:

  • Electricity and heating losses
  • Burst pipes and flooding, which can destroy buildings, property, and documents
  • Ice dams
  • Closed roads
  • Delayed deliveries
  • Springtime floods
  • Parking lots, roadways, and walkways that need de-icing to prevent employee and customer injury

Businesses that don’t have a disaster preparedness or natural disaster recovery plan are less likely to reopen or recover after an incident. The January 2014 Global Catastrophe Recap reported that severe weather alone caused $3 billion in damages in 2013.

When creating a disaster preparedness plan, a business should conduct a risk assessment to identify and prioritize safety concerns, at-risk assets, and potential post-disaster problems. Regardless of the disaster type, businesses frequently face the following problems after an incident:

  • Structural damage
  • Lack of employee access to their place of work
  • Interruptions in supply chains
  • Losses of perishable goods
  • Temporary business closures

By creating a business continuity plan, your business can address the necessary procedures to take after a disaster that outlines immediate response tactics. With a disaster recovery plan in place, an organization is more likely to bounce back after an incident with minimal downtime.

While there are parts of the cleanup process that can be handled by the employees, there are some aspects that should be carried out by a property damage restoration specialist. Enlisting a professional will ensure the safety of the employees and prevent further damage to the property and/or company assets. Such occasions include the cleaning and/or removal of:

  • Hazardous materials
  • Items in or affected by contaminated water
  • Parts of a building that aren’t structurally sound
  • Items affected by mold
  • Building materials that contain hazardous materials like lead-based paint or asbestos
  • Document recovery (cleaning, drying, freezing)
  • Debris removal
  • Water extraction
  • Smoke and soot (carbon) removal

When a business knows the potential risks that it can face following a disaster, and has a plan to mitigate those risks, the natural disaster recovery process operates much smoother. To learn more about business continuity planning for your business, contact Polygon and ask about its Code Blue® program.

Related articles