Plan Before a Disaster to Stay in Business After

Disaster can strike a business in many ways. Fires, explosions, and vandalism can impact a specific location or regional events such as a hurricane, blizzard, or terrorist event can impact an entire region. After a catastrophic event, it is essential to evaluate the damage to the facilities quickly and accurately. This enables the business to settle its insurance claim and get back into operation as soon as possible.

Insurance plans tend to help businesses financially after a mishap. It was considered one of the most important aspects when most business operations were carried out offline. But in today’s era, with digital processes in place, saving software and related data becomes more crucial. With everything moving online, the risk of phishing, hacking, file corruption, etc. has become too common. And a firm must be able to protect itself from any such internal disaster. So, it is imperative to check out which backup and disaster recovery services can address these issues before looking for a plan that provides financial aid after a physical disaster.

A lot of the important work must be done before the disaster occurs:

  • Identifying the facilities and equipment at risk is the first step. This may be simple for a small business with one or two locations. Larger businesses with operations in many states and localities will have to study the question more deeply. Each location faces its own unique risks. Businesses should imagine the worst-case scenario for any one event and plan around that.
  • Businesses should also create a disaster response team. After a disaster, some members of the group may not be able to access the business location and therefore the list should include several names with multiple people able to fill each role.
  • The business should also have a written communications plan for reaching members of the group. All members should have each others’ phone numbers (both land lines and cellular), e-mail addresses, and emergency contact information.
  • Collect as much information about each property as possible. Assemble multiple copies of architectural drawings, appraisals, inspection reports, and maintenance records. The business should store documents in several locations and media so that backups will be available. Members of the disaster recovery team should survey each location, identifying special features, key processes, characteristics that increase the building’s vulnerability to a particular threat, and equipment that will be difficult to replace.

Also, there can be resources and tools that can be incorporated into a business to reduce physical or cyber losses if a disaster strikes. With the help of software like Building Analytics Automation System, a business can ensure that all the company’s equipment, gadgets, and services are running efficiently and effectively through diagnostics and fault detection techniques. Such software can additionally detect faults in HVAC and fire safety systems to get them repaired quickly and reduce the chances of disaster.

However, if a disaster occurs, the disaster team coordinator should contact each member of the group and arrange for an inspection of the facility when it is safe and law enforcement allows.

When the group can inspect, they should:

  • Identify emergency measures necessary to protect the facility from further damage
  • Assess the extent of the damage
  • Identify areas that are unsafe to enter
  • Evaluate the condition of the areas where critical processes occur.

After the inspection, the group should prepare reports on each damaged facility. These reports may be required by local authorities and government agencies that provide disaster assistance.

Many insurance companies have sample disaster plans available to use as a guide. There are numerous other resources available through federal and state agencies.

The following are links to several different resources:

To a large extent, a business owner has control over how the business will cope with a disaster. With careful planning, the business will survive it and thrive.

At Cleary, we will evaluate your business exposures and work with you to develop a comprehensive plan to safeguard your business. Give us a call today at 617-723-0700.