7 Ways to Protect Your Business from Natural Disasters
During Hurricane Irma, I was one of the many unlucky people to experience some of the realities of the before, during, and after effects of a natural disaster. Before Irma wreaked havoc on the southern part of Florida, every moment felt like we were preparing for a nuclear bomb to drop on our house and the community that surrounds us. It felt like there was nowhere to go, since the hurricane was targeted to hit the entire state of Florida, and flights were full and highways were packed with cars. I also saw how some businesses were helping their community, while others were taking advantage of the situation. It was during this time that I started thinking about what you can do to help protect yourself and your business from a hurricane or other natural disasters.
1. Business Emergency Plan – Creating a good business emergency plan can go a long way when you need it. It will give you a clear guide, including checklists, for your staff to follow that has already been painstakingly researched so that you can quickly take care of commonly known emergency situations. It also includes how to reach out to staff to make sure they are safe and inform them of whether they should report to work. Some examples of checklists and preparation material can be found on the US Small Business Administration’s website.
2. Business Security – Creating a good business security plan will help as you may be very vulnerable after a natural disaster strikes, and some people can take advantage of this vulnerability. A business security plan, which can help prepare you for worse case scenarios, will include things like having extra security staff in place to protect your employees and assets.
3. Safety Equipment – Investing in safety products, like two-way radios, wireless hotspots with antennas, fire extinguishers, sledgehammers, flashlights, first aid kits, and protective eye gear, is a great way to prepare. And if your business has any extra safety supplies then you could help out your neighbors who may not be as prepared.
4. Business Insurance – Investing in business insurance that covers natural disasters is a great idea, however it is not easy. Make sure you ask insurance companies about their natural disaster coverage for businesses and do your research to find the best business insurance in your area.
5. Building Investments – Investing in your business’ building by having impact resistant glass, sliding hurricane shutters, and earthquake resistant structural changes is a great idea. Spending money upfront can minimize the potential destruction of your property.
6. Resource Backups – Creating a good backup plan to keep operating until services are brought back online after the natural disaster is critical. This plan should include things like electricity, water, food, and internet. After a lot of natural disasters these necessities are in high demand and you may need to wait weeks or even months for normal services to return, depending on your business’s location and the damage caused by the natural disaster.
7. Community Action – Lending a hand. Take the time to help your community, if possible, and after the natural disaster. This not only helps your company show its commitment to your community but also gives a focus for your employees. The Salvation Army, Red Cross or other community help organizations are good places to start.
The above are seven ways to help you prepare your business for natural disasters, however, there are many other ways to protect your business. If you would like to learn about more ways, see the American Red Cross – Types of Emergencies Resource http://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies, and the U.S. Small Business Administration – Disaster assistance https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance, which are good resources to get you started.