Six Must-Know Steps to Prep Your Business for a Natural Disaster
Your business may take great pride in its security and safe operations practices, but there's only so much you can do to minimize damage from a natural disaster. Since your business's priorities include avoiding shutdowns and loss of revenue, they also should include prepping for how to handle a natural disaster.
One of the first steps to take is to get in touch with an independent insurance agent. They'll help you review your business's existing coverage and add more if necessary. But for starters, here are some handy tips for how to prepare your workplace to deal with a natural disaster.
Six Ways to Help Your Business Prepare for Natural Disasters
Data collected over the past 10 years demonstrates that natural disasters have only increased in frequency. The National Centers for Environmental Information reported that 2020 was the sixth consecutive year that brought more than 10 weather events that together cost the country $1 billion or more. Since it's more important than ever for your business to be prepared so it doesn't fall into this category of extreme loss, follow these six tips to help keep yours safe from Mother Nature's worst.
1. Protect Office Structures and Equipment
When it comes to natural disaster losses, quite a bit of them can actually be prevented or limited by just taking simple fireproofing and waterproofing measures.
Start with these steps:
- Install a sprinkler system in your business.
- Ensure that your business is built with flame-retardent materials.
- Use flame-retardent treatments on finishes and surfaces in your business.
- Install waterproof flooring in your business.
- Cover business equipment with special waterproof materials, especially electronics.
Following these simple tips can help your business minimize fire and water damage as much as possible, even if you can't avoid it entirely.
2. Keep Emergency Supplies on Hand
Just like you keep an emergency kit on hand at home, you should keep one at the office. Make sure your business has an emergency kit handy and that all employees know where to find it.
Fill your emergency kit with things like:
- First-aid supplies
- Non-perishable food and bottled water
- Treatments for hazardous chemicals and other toxins used at the workplace
- Sanitizers and bleach
- Commonly needed tools like wrenches and pliers
- Flashlights and extra batteries
- Cell phone and other chargers
- Radios and other communication devices
Take this step to the next level by keeping a checklist of what's on hand in your business's emergency kit. That way if any items get removed, you'll know to replace them before a disaster occurs.
3. Train Employees on Disaster Protocols
Employees must be trained on how to evacuate the building safely in case of emergency. Hold routine evacuation drills for all team members and assign certain workers to be in charge of keeping track of everyone during a storm. Make sure employees know at least two routes out of the building, and also how to use any fire extinguishers and other disaster equipment on site.
4. Protect Important Data
The loss of data and sensitive information can be one of the main reasons why businesses don't recover after a natural disaster. Your business must not only be prepared for how to handle physical damage from a natural disaster, but also possible data losses or security breaches. Back up your business's important data regularly, such as to a cloud-based device.
Keeping a copy of your business's important files off-site can help guarantee that you'll have a surviving copy if your entire premises gets wiped out by a natural disaster. You'll also want to make sure you've got enough cyber liability insurance to help you recover after a possible data breach while your operations are suspended. Your independent insurance agent can help.
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5. Create a Business Continuity Plan
Business continuity plans are used to help your business get back on track after a natural disaster or other major incident. How your business moves forward after a natural disaster is just as crucial as how it responds before and during the actual event. The plan must consider potential economic and operational impacts of natural disasters on your company.
Business continuity plans should include:
- Your insurance company's contact information, as well as contact info for emergency services and disaster relief organizations
- Full documentation of the damage from a natural disaster or other crisis
- Official reports of the business being declared safe for reentry and the resuming of operations
- Locations of important business information, documents, etc. and how to access each of them
- Locations of alternate workplaces
Ideally, a business continuity plan should address how to file insurance claims after a disaster, but your independent insurance agent can actually file claims directly for you. Ensure that your team is aware of this, and share your independent insurance agent's contact information with anyone who may be in charge of making insurance claims.
6. Protect Your Business and Employees with Insurance
Before a natural disaster ever rolls around, you'll need to review your business insurance coverage with the help of your independent insurance agent. If you're lacking in any area of coverage, they'll help you change that. They can also help you understand the claims process following a natural disaster, so you'll know exactly what to do if and when one happens.
Some insurance companies also provide special resources for small business owners, such as online training or specific checklists. Your independent insurance agent can connect you to these resources if they’re available.
Here are some additional safety resources for your business:
How the Most Common Natural Disasters in the US Can Damage Your Business
Many of the most common natural disasters in the US can seriously damage your business from a physical standpoint. Severe thunderstorms, winter storms, flooding, wildfires, cyclones, and earthquakes can all damage or destroy your business's structure and/or contents like inventory and equipment. Make sure to review your business's property coverage and commercial vehicle coverage with your independent insurance agent to be better prepared.
Though natural disasters can often be devastating to a business, they don't have to mean the end of your company's run. Taking these preparation steps can help fast-track your path to a successful recovery. Be sure to balance the in-house preparation tips with reviewing your insurance coverage for an all-around solid plan of attack.
Why Choose an Independent Insurance Agent?
Independent insurance agents simplify the process by shopping and comparing insurance quotes for you. Not only that, but they’ll cut through the jargon and clarify the fine print so you'll know exactly what you’re getting.
Independent insurance agents also have access to multiple insurance companies, ultimately finding you the best business insurance coverage, accessibility, and competitive pricing while working for you.
TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Jeffrey Green
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