There are many ways to make a disaster preparedness plan for business recovery work. Natural disasters and related emergencies often have a significant impact on business infrastructure, profitability, and daily operations. In fact, about 25% of businesses that close due to a disaster do not reopen. As a business manager, creating and implementing a disaster preparedness plan is imperative in ensuring the continued operations of your business. Read on to discover how to create a disaster preparedness plan for business recovery.
The first step in creating a disaster preparedness plan for your business is to assess small business risks. These vary greatly by location. For example, Florida and surrounding Gulf Coast states are susceptible to hurricanes. California often has earthquakes and wildfires. The best way to assess the likelihood of risks is to ask yourself a few questions. For instance, what is the biggest physical risk to you and your employees? What’s the biggest risk to your overall operations? What’s the likelihood you won’t be able to physically reach your business? Alternatively, ask yourself if there’s anything that could happen to suppliers or consumers that would impact your business. Surely, assessing risks in this way enables you to establish a preparedness plan specific to your business’s needs.
Consider Outside Factors
When creating a disaster plan, there are a few outside factors that affect requirements and specifics of your plan. These include local laws and requirements mandated by the US Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). OSHA mandates emergency response guidelines that must be followed by federal law. These include fire safety requirements, regulations on evacuation plans, and the presence of emergency preparedness kits. Additionally, consider the preparedness needs unique to your business. Consult with local fire and police departments to develop plan guidelines that work best with your business, location, team, and daily operations. Plan according to your facility’s layout, your team’s work schedules, and the best courses of action for anyone with special needs. Absolutely, considering these outside factors personalizes your plan, ensuring the survival of your business and team.
Planning actual evacuation routes is the next step in developing a disaster preparedness plan for your business. This should be done well before any potential disasters. Determine a primary and secondary evacuation route and exit for your employees. It is imperative that these routes and exits are well lit, clearly marked, and easily accessible to ensure quick evacuations. Additionally, it is important to designate an outside meeting point. This way you can account for all of your employees. Consider any individuals who may need assistance when evacuating, as well. Certainly, planning several physical evacuation routes reduces confusion due to your employees knowing exactly where to go.
Next, you’ll want to prepare physical preparedness kits for your employees. You should always have a preparedness kit on site containing clean water, first aid supplies, and nonperishable foods. Additionally, it should contain tools such as flashlights, crank radios, and backup batteries. When determining the items to include, consider how your employees get to work and that these roads may not be accessible. The Red Cross offers an online quiz to help you determine what to include. Definitely, having a preparedness kit on hand prolongs the safety and survival of employees who may be stranded at work.
Finally, ensure the recovery of your business by having insurance sufficient enough to cover business disruptions as well as any potential repairs. Often, you need to purchase separate business insurance policies for coverage from floods, earthquakes, and other disasters. Additionally, conduct a detailed review of your insurance polices. They should include business interruption and extra expense insurance. These policies provide coverage in the event of your premises being unusable. However, these policies may not cover damage that occurs off-site, such as to a key customer or supplier. Of course, making sure you have sufficient insurance enables faster business recovery due to reducing costs incurred by the disaster.
You can protect your business from disasters in a myriad of ways. One such way involves assessing the risks specific to your business as a first step. Second, prepare for factors such as OSHA regulations and the layout of your facility and its surrounding area. Next, you want to plan and map out evacuation routes from your facilities. Preparedness kits are crucial in the event you or employees are stranded at work. Finally, ensure you have proper insurance coverage that enables your business to recover. When wondering how to create a disaster preparedness plan for business, consider the steps described above.