This year has proven that no matter where you reside in the United States, you are not immune to disasters. Whether your community is prone to hurricanes, floods, fires, or winter storms some planning will go a long way to being prepared. The time to think about a potential natural disaster is not when they are imminent, but beforehand, when there is still time to work out a plan.
The Red Cross has put together a great Emergency Preparedness Playbook to get your business ready for anything Mother Nature may throw at you. Your home plan is also covered by the Red Cross. The Institute for Business & Home Safety also puts out a thorough planning booklet. These are valuable tools to use when getting your disaster plan in place.
The Most Important Tools for your Business Post-Disaster
At a recent NEIBA round table discussion we reviewed the most critical preparation items, including:
Make multiple copies of all of your insurance documents. Keep a hard copy in the store, at another offsite location (preferably in a fire proof box or safety deposit box) and scan the documents and keep them online so that they are available from any location.
Proof of disaster
Owners will benefit from having as much photo and/or video documentation of their store both before and after the disaster as possible. Especially, after the event and before doing any clean up, take pictures and if possible a video that clearly shows the damage.
Maintain a complete and current list of all store employees. Again, this list should be kept in multiple locations and by multiple people if possible. Also, designate the phone tree leader – who will kick off the communication to employees.
Binc Provides Financial Assistance
The Binc Foundation offers assistance in times of natural disaster as well. We can be of immediate assistance to help with evacuation, temporary shelter, emergency food and water expenses. After the storm has hit and the damage has been assessed, you may need to reach out to the Foundation for storm related expenses, ie. home repair, unpaid bills due to lost wages.
Also, be sure to review our Dealing with Bureaucracies blog post to help manage insurance agencies and repair companies after the disaster.
In this digital age it is less likely you will find yourself surprised by a natural disaster. Storms can be tracked and updates provided on a variety of websites. To weather a storm, you need to prepare your business and your home.