10 Tips for Creating a Disaster Preparedness Plan for Your Small Business
Disasters are devastating – not only for individuals but for businesses, too. Do you know what you would do in case of emergency? How quickly could your operation recover following a force of nature? The time to establish a disaster preparedness plan is now. Check out these ten tips for creating yours.
1. Update employee contact information
Encourage your workers to update their contact information
anytime they move or change phone numbers. That way, you’ll always know how to
get in touch with them.
Remind your team to regularly review and update their
emergency contact information. If your employee is at work when disaster
strikes, you want to make sure to contact their family or friends as quickly as
If disaster strikes, you won’t be able to do everything
yourself. As part of your plan, assign specific tasks to each member of your
staff. That way, everyone will know exactly what to do after an emergency, and
your business can get back up and running quickly.
For example, you might give someone the responsibility of
securing all the doors and windows before a hurricane. You might assign someone
else to call emergency services, if needed. And, you might ask someone else to
call your vendors to postpone shipment dates while you’re recovering.
Remember, however, that someone may not be available to help
during and after a catastrophe, so assign backups to each task and utilize your
5. Perform an asset inventory
If you sell products, then you probably regularly
take inventory. But, what about your other assets, like computers,
printers, and phones? Record all the equipment you and your team regularly use,
so you have a list to give to the insurance adjuster after a disaster. You
might also consider taking pictures of your office or store to prove that
you’re actively using the equipment. This can help make it easier for you to
file a claim, so you and your staff can get back to work faster.
6. Build a kit
While you’re creating your disaster preparedness plan, go
ahead and put together a well-stocked emergency kit
and include its location and contents in your plan. The kit might include
a battery-powered or hand-crank radio,
a first-aid kit, and
a fire extinguisher.
7. Talk to public emergency services
Public emergency services, like police and fire departments,
want to help you and your small business continue to be part of the community.
Reach out to them and ask for any help they can provide, like reviewing your
plan after you’ve written it and providing you with the best way to contact
them in the case of a crisis.
8. Write it down
Don’t rely on your memory during an emergency. Instead,
write your plan down and make it easily accessible to your entire team. When
you’re writing it, make sure it’s easy to understand, as detailed as possible,
and well-organized. You want your employees to be able to easily find the
information they need so they can act as quickly as possible.
You and your employees may panic during a disaster, especially
if you feel unprepared. Relieve some of that fear by holding regular
simulations. These will give your employees the chance to practice. After each
drill, ask your staff to tell you how they think it went. Ask them questions
Each contributor on the Workful Editorial Team holds an advanced degree in business-related studies and/or communication and has written for other small business publications, including SmallBizDaily, HR.com, and Business.com. The information in this article is based on thorough research and has been edited for accuracy and timeliness by Workful’s Human Resources experts. While this blog is meant to inform and educate small business owners, it is not intended to provide legal, financial, accounting, or tax advice.