October 9, 2015
Are you prepared to protect the company you worked so hard to grow? Is your business ready for the weather event of the century? If your company building burned down or was hit by a category-five hurricane today, would your business information be safe? Would your business and client data be protected? These are important questions to ask yourself BEFORE disaster strikes. Be ahead of the storm. Protect your business, assist your clients and staff where possible and advise your employees on safety.
Always have a plan in place. You should identify the most important functions of your business and have a master plan readily available to each employee as their job requires.
You should also have regular practice drills. The company with a plan is the safest company.
Do you have a checklist available that will help you coordinate all necessary implementation of disaster recovery and business continuity? Are you ready to act at a moment’s notice on protecting your livelihood and that of your employees? Is your building secured? Are business supplies and equipment in a safe place? And are your records, client lists, and all other information and data secure and safe in order to pick up and begin business immediately after the storm or other disaster passes?
Do you have all your people in place to take over after an emergency? Do you have a list of key employees who can take over main positions at a moment’s notice? This is extremely important and should be in writing both digitally and physically. The list should be updated when an employees are hired or even released. Don’t be caught without a key person in place. As in any organization, pre- and post-storm responsibility designation is a must and should be initiated quickly.
Do you have an emergency list of ALL employees, their home phone numbers and cell phone numbers in case there is an emergency? Each key person in the chain of command should have a copy of this list and each key person should contact a designated number of employees. Divide the employee list. Do not assume someone has been called without a checklist.
There should also be a list of evacuation zones during severe storms for you and your staff for their homes and other locations they would need to evacuate to. And, by all means, have a document listing all personnel for warning and recovery operations. Know where your friends, family, co-workers and staff are during any weather related emergency. Be the lifeline you would want for yourself. And designate an assistant in case you are not available for whatever reason.
Do you have a list current vendors or contractors who are critical to your daily operations? Do you have a telephone number for each vendor or contractor? Do you have a backup vendor in case your main vendor is unavailable? Do you have a plan to meet with your staff when storms are approaching?
Always be up-to-date on your storm coverage and make sure your insurance policies are in a safe place (preferably a bank deposit box). You can keep a copy of your coverage on a disk in your office or on your smart phone. The original should be kept in a safe, dry place along with phone numbers and names of your agents preferably off site. Check at least every six months to make sure your coverage is up-to-date. Make sure premiums are paid in a timely manner. Policy numbers, names and phone numbers can also be kept on your Smartphone.
Do you have duplicate business information off-site? If not, consider getting this started. The use of ‘a cloud’ app is safe and secure.
Make sure you have cash on hand in a safe place (enough to last several days). ATMs could be off line due to power outages. Fill your gas tanks (all vehicles). The pumps are often without power due to downed power lines.
Make sure you have adequate backup communications available. A cellular phone is a must. Texting is the easiest and most efficient way to make contact with people as the phone lines will be running on overload. Do you have a two-way radio, a CB radio or other messaging system? Use them? There is always someone listening.
A local radio station staff can make announcements for your business. Make arrangements ahead of the storm. This is an excellent way to communicate with your staff who are wondering if they should come in. Be in contact with the station before, during, and after a storm event.
Always care for your employees. Assist in helping them to recover their home belongings, board up windows, moving, storage, and allow for cash advances. Remember, in times of emergency, we do our best work. Help your employees get back on track with temporary housing, moving expenses, childcare, food, and water. The best employees are those who know they are cared about.
Don’t assume serious emergency weather conditions and other catastrophic events only happen on the news. The next one could be your event. Be ready and make sure your staff is ready. Plan now!
Article by B. Caffera. If you would like to receive a business disaster preparedness assessment from Cloud 3C please call 407-588-0989 or visit us online at http://cloud3c.com.