Grainger Editorial Staff
Hurricanes, power outages, fires, floods, earthquakes, terrorism. These events can cripple your business operations in just minutes. How quickly your organization gets back to business often depends on the emergency planning done today.
What are the steps you can take to safeguard your people, equipment and data? Carefully assess your internal and external functions to determine which staff, materials, procedures, equipment and data are absolutely necessary to keep the organization operating.
Here are 6 steps that you should review now in preparation for a disaster:
Inadequate insurance coverage can lead to major financial loss if your business operations are interrupted or your facility is damaged or destroyed. Insurance policies vary, so check with your agent about coverage for property damage, flood coverage and business interruption. Understand what your policy covers and what it does not. Ask about any deductibles, if applicable. You should also plan how you will pay vendors and employees as well as provide for your own income. Finally, find out what records your insurer requires you to provide following an emergency, and store them in a safe place.
Organizations are dependent on electricity, gas, telecommunications, sewage and other utilities. Plan ahead for extended disruptions during and after a disaster. Carefully examine which utilities are vital to your business’s day-to-day operations. Speak with service providers about potential alternatives and identify back-up options. Learn how and when to turn off utilities in a safe and timely manner.
Consider purchasing portable generators or standby power systems to provide power to the vital needs of your organization in an emergency. Never use a generator indoors as it may produce carbon monoxide gas. Read operating instructions carefully. Periodically test the backup system’s operability.
Decide how you will communicate with employees, suppliers and others. Use cell phones, walkie-talkies or other devices that do not rely on electricity as a back-up to your telecommunication system.
While there is no way to predict what will happen or what the circumstances will be, there are things you can do in advance to help protect your business:
The force of some disasters can damage or destroy important equipment.
In some emergencies, microscopic particles may be released into the air. Earthquakes can release dust and debris. A biological attack may release germs that may make you sick. A dirty bomb can spread radioactive particles.
Depending on the size of the building and the design and layout of the HVAC system, there are simple steps building owners and managers can take to help protect people from some airborne threats. If you rent or lease your space, speak to the building owners and managers about HVAC maintenance. Ask if there are options for improving building air protection.
Protecting your electronic data and information technology systems may require specialized expertise. Depending on the particular industry and the size and scope of the business, cybersecurity can be very complicated. Here are some recommended tips:
An investment in planning today will not only help protect your organization and your livelihood, but will also support your employees, stakeholders, the community and the local economy.
The information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. No representation is made that the information or references are complete or remain current. This article is not a substitute for review of current applicable government regulations, industry standards, or other standards specific to your business and/or activities and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the applicable standards or consult with an attorney.
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