Disaster Preparedness – Are you ready?

Posted By: Liza Watkins,

You Never Know When Disaster is Going to Strike

Whether it’s a flood, hurricane, high winds, wildfire, earthquake, or blizzard there are some basic steps you can follow to be prepared. Having a plan and staying informed will help you be ready to protect your assets and employees during a crisis.  A little planning now can save you time, money, and devastation later. These tips will help you think ahead so you can be ready to safeguard your business during a natural disaster.


Identify Your Threats

  • What kind of natural disasters are possible where your business operates? Businesses with multiple locations may be at risk for different things and therefore require separate plans.
  • Consider all options, you may be surprised what your business is at risk for. For example, your business doesn’t need to reside near a body of water to experience a flood.
  • What other dangers may complicate a disastrous situation you encounter?


Identify Your Resources

  • What kind of resources does your community/area offer? Learn about local shelter locations and evacuation routes.
  • What kind of resources are available to you outside your community?
  • Stay informed! Sign up for available alert systems for emergency information and updates.
  • Utilize online resources like ready.gov for examples of disaster and emergency plans and packing lists.


Make & Maintain a Plan

  • Have an Emergency Action Plan in place for each phase of a disaster– pre-disaster, during the disaster, post-disaster.
  • Have an Emergency Action Plan for each location and employee.
  • Designate an Emergency Coordinator or Team. They should be employees that will be available to staff members during an emergency and maintain responsibilities of keeping the plans and packs up to date.
  • Ensure that each employee is certain about what needs to happen, what should they do and where to go in an emergency situation. Consider having meetings and drills with staff to ensure each employee understands exactly what they are supposed to do.
  • Have a plan for prepping a location for what needs to happen when a disaster is coming. What needs to be put away, secured, or tied down? Know where main shut off valves for gas, electric and water are located.


Be Equipped with the Proper Tools

  • Emergency supply kit for employees that will get them through 72 hours- You may want to consider making each employee their own bag; this can include animals that you work with or have on the premises. Make sure to check and refresh these kits every 6 months. Make sure to include a list of things to collect last minute like keys, wallets, medications, and important documents. (For a printable kit list go to ready.gov/kit).
  • Emergency kits for locations and vehicles— whether you stay or evacuate make sure you have what you need to keep your location as safe as possible. Have kits for each location and each vehicle to ensure you will have what you need in an emergency.
  • Protect important documents– Have a safety deposit box or fire-proof/water-proof safe secured in an appropriate place on the premise.


Be Thoughtful About Maintenance & Improvements

  • Keep all vehicles and machinery in good working order and have them serviced regularly.
  • Consider the potential dangers nature may pose to your property, structures, vehicles, and equipment. Maintain trees that grow close to these assets.
  • When upgrading or making improvements consider impact resistant glass, working shutters, and reinforced doors in a location that experiences storms with strong winds. Upgrade your drainage system if your location is on a terrain prone to flooding.


Make Sure You Have the Proper Insurance in Place

  • Your commercial property and liability policy doesn’t protect against flood or earthquake damage. It may not cover other damages as a result of a disaster. Don’t wait until after a catastrophe to find out, give yourself peace of mind now.
  • Talk to your Moody insurance agent and make sure that you have the coverage to fit your unique needs should disaster strike.