5 Ways to Prepare Your Business for Natural Disasters

Natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, and fires are frightening because they are unpredictable and can cause massive destruction. Several regions of the country have a high incidence of natural disasters.  People who live in these areas are advised by government agencies to plan and prepare for whatever may come their way. Unfortunately, people sometimes procrastinate rather than taking action before a disaster is imminent. Situations involving these types of occurrences have better outcomes when there is time to consider all available options.

In addition to protecting their homes, business owners should take extra precautions to secure their establishments and ensure that it is fully operational as quickly as possible. There are five steps you can take to prepare for natural disasters that will make it easier to recover and continue servicing your customers.

A father & son preparing for a hurricane by putting plywood over the windows.

1. Create an Emergency Plan Now!
The most important thing you can do to help your business survive a disaster is to prepare. If you find yourself in a state of emergency, the time to plan for a natural disaster is already gone. Creating an effective plan is a group effort. Every employee must be aware of their roles and responsibilities. The documents should also provide specific information and answer critical questions. Including:

  • Who will be the team leader for putting the plan into action?
  • Have we prepared emergency kits? Does everyone know where they are located?
  • How are we going to communicate with each other? Where is the contact list?
  • Does everyone know how to evacuate the premises?
  • How do I inform our customers and keep them updated?

2. Get the Right Insurance Coverage
One of the worst things you can find out is that your insurance does not cover the type of natural disaster that damaged your business. Reviewing your insurance package regularly will let you know if you already have sufficient coverage, or need to purchase additional insurance. Your package should cover damage to your property, inventory, loss of use, and other costs that may interrupt your operations.

Be sure to keep a copy of your insurance documents at your business and in another secure location offsite. Scanning the papers will give you the option of storing them on a cloud-based platform and accessing them from any location.

Don’t let unexpected but ultimately inevitable natural disasters cause you avoidable losses.

3. Protect Your Business’s Data
Whether you store important information on paper or in a database, it’s essential to duplicate the information and store it in a safe and easily accessible place. If you rely on paperwork, make copies and store it in an offsite location. The documents may be related to payroll, billing, or taxes. Businesses that process electronic transactions or rely on databases should backup data to a cloud-based platform.

4. Take Before and After Pictures or Videos
Taking photos or recording videos documenting the condition of your business before and after the damage to your property willbe helpfulto the agent who processes your claim. Depending on the level of damage, these visuals can also help you restore your business to its

5. Use Online Resources to Prepare
Several online resources offer guidance, tips, and ideas to help you get started on your emergency plan. Although the Red Cross’ Emergency Preparedness Playbook was written a few years ago, the information is still relevant.  It offers step-by-step details on what everyone should do to prepare for a disaster. Business owners will find the planning booklet, developed by the Institute for Business & Safety, particularly helpful since it addresses their specific situations. Whatever you do, take the time to prepare for the unexpected. You’ve seen the destruction caused by natural disasters on the nightly news, or seen the damage up close in the city or town where you live. You can’t prevent disasters from happening, but you can take some necessary steps before they happen.

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