Small Business
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Be Prepared for a Natural Disaster

Taking these steps may help your company survive a tornado, hurricane or other catastrophic event.

Four out of ten businesses affected by a natural disaster never reopen, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Think it can't happen to you? All businesses are at risk since natural disasters such as wildfires, severe thunderstorms, tornadoes and floods can occur in any part of the country.

Find Your Weakness 
Determine what disasters are possible, even if they are improbable, and then consider which of your business operations would be affected. Are computers located on the first floor and vulnerable to rising floodwaters? If road closures made it impossible for employees to get to the office, could you still stay in contact with clients?

Create a Preparedness Policy
Write a formal policy outlining roles and responsibilities in the event of a disaster and distribute this policy to all managers within your firm. Who will contact key customers and suppliers? How will you communicate with employees? Is there another location employees should report to? Will you pay employees if you have to temporarily shut your doors? The policy should include answers to these questions along with important phone numbers and addresses.

Install a Generator 
Power outages accompany almost all natural disasters and some outages can last for days. Consider installing an emergency power generator. Identify which systems, such as heating and cooling, are critical to your business and purchase a generator powerful enough to keep these systems running.

Make Sure You're Insured 
Your insurance policy should cover direct costs such as equipment damage as well as indirect costs due to business disruption. Review your policy with your agent and understand your deductibles and limits. If flooding is possible in your area, investigate flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Create an inventory, along with photos, of important and expensive equipment and store a copy off-site, too.

Safeguard Your Back-ups 
Most firms back up their electronic data but keep the back-ups in the office. Store a copy off-site with a reputable data storage firm or consider a hosted or cloud-based backup solution.

For more ideas on preparing your business for a disaster, visit Ready.gov.

 


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