9 Tips For Emergency Preparedness Planning
With everything going on out here in California this week with the Kern County wildfires, this post is more about risk management and mitigation rather than insurance. Fires and natural disasters can happen to anyone at anytime and in the blink of an eye and destroy everything you own and have worked extremely hard to build. Although there’s no stopping the rage of a fire, the devastation of an earthquake, or the wreckage of a flood, there are things you can do to mitigate loss.
Here’s a small list of steps you can take to prepare yourself for a natural disaster courtesy of The Hartford Emergency Preparedness Planning.
9 Practical Tips for the Small Business Owner
1- Establish an Evacuation Plan: Be sure everyone can get out quickly in an emergency. Designate primary and secondary evacuation routes and exits. Make sure these routes are clearly marked, well-lit, wide enough, and clear at all times. Train your employees in evacuation procedures and practice at least annually.
2- Keep an updated list of telephone numbers, including emergency personnel, hospital, public health, utilities, insurance agent, and disaster relief agencies. Include contact names and telephone numbers for customers, suppliers, and distributors. Keep a copy off site
3-Keep essential items on hand in the event of an emergency: first aid kit, flashlight with fresh batteries, battery powered radio, waterproof plastic bags and covers, camera with film, tool kit, and appropriate supply of bottled water and nonperishable food.
4- Protect vital records critical to your business (e.g., financial statements, account information, blueprints, product lists, etc.) Select a safe that has been tested and listed by Underwriters Laboratories UL rates safes for resistance to fire and heat, as well as resistance to burglary tools and torches. Or, keep copies offsite if possible.
5- Back up all critical electronic data and programs at least daily. Backing up these valuable assets can help a business recover from a data loss or hardware failure and get back online quickly.
6- Secure backup copies of critical data and programs in a physical location seperate from your premises to protect against damage from theft, fire, water and other physical hazards.
7- Determine if your business is located in an area that is prone to natural hazards (e.g., flood, earthquake, wildfires). Once you have identified perils to which your business is vulnerable, take steps to minimize potential damage to the building and contents (e.g.- if you are in earthquake territory, anchor tall bookcases and file cabinets to wall studs to keep them from falling).
8- Review your current property insurance policy with your insurance agent. Be sure that you understand the coverages (e.g., buildings, personal property, presonal property of others, business income, etc.), deductibles, and limits of insurance. You will need to buy seperate policies for flood or earthquake damage as they are excluded perils on property insurance policies.
9- Keep insurance information and contact names and numbers in a safe place. This will expedite the claim process in the event of a loss.