You never know when an emergency will happen, and that’s why it’s best to always be prepared. Depending on your location, your business may need to prepare for natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, severe winter weather, or forest fires.
Each business will have different needs during an emergency. It’s best to focus on disasters that affect your business directly. If you’re in an area prone to certain natural disasters, you should have a plan in place on how to deal with the situation should it arise.
Every business should have a first aid kit, but it’s important to make sure that it’s well-stocked. If you’ve had the same first aid kit for years, then it may be time to replenish the items inside. Certain things like medicine or ointments can expire, so check the dates on them and replace them as needed.
You may have a first aid kit, but do you have a generalized emergency kit? You might need to prepare your business with enough emergency water and food for your employees to last a few days. Your emergency kit should also include flashlights, batteries, a radio, and a tool kit. Make sure it is in an easily accessible area.
Make sure you have safety procedures and evacuation plans for your building. Each emergency is different, so you may need different plans for each one. It’s important to go over these plans and procedures with your staff.
Put people into groups with designated leaders to keep each other accounted for. Perform regular drills to stay prepared and make sure everyone knows their role and responsibilities. Make sure you are considering the needs of all individuals. Do you have disabled staff or people with medical conditions? Have established procedures for helping each other. The group system can help ensure no one is left behind.
If your business deals with information and clients, it’s important to have backup files for all of your data. Many businesses now use cloud-based information systems that store information online. However, you can also use an external hard drive or keep backup files off-site.
Sometimes power outages occur as a result of natural disasters and storms. Does your business have an emergency power system? Do you use surge protectors to ensure electronics don’t get fried? If your business doesn’t have a generator or an uninterrupted power supply (UPS), then it may be time to consider one. You will likely only need to keep the power on long enough to back-up systems and information, prevent damage to electronics, ensure they’re shut off properly, as well as evacuate your staff.
A lot of businesses aren’t able to open back up after a natural disaster because of severe economic loss. Make sure your business is properly insured with the right commercial insurance coverage. There are coverages for a business interruption which covers the economic loss due to the business not operating and coverages for the building & property, general/employee liability if someone gets injured on your property, as well as other coverages that may be suitable like equipment breakdown insurance. Depending on the area, you may need to purchase separate insurance policies that might not be included in commercial insurance like flood and earthquake insurance.
Each business has different needs regarding its insurance policy. Talk to your local insurance agent to discuss the best commercial insurance plan for your business.