It goes without saying that natural disasters are damaging events that can have a serious impact on homes and local infrastructure, and it could also be extremely detrimental to your business operation.
How well prepared is your business if a catastrophic event wreaks havoc and causes serious disruption to services and supplies?
Here is a look at some of the potential threats and what measures you should be considering for your business in order to counteract against the impact of such a challenging scenario like major flooding or any other type of natural disaster.
Making sure your employees are safe
The threat to life is always a major concern when disaster strikes and that is why it is necessary to have some procedures and protocols in place that will ensure everyone knows what to do in an emergency.
A key priority would be to establish a viable emergency and evacuation plan that everyone is familiar with and knows what to do if it needs to be put into action at a moments notice.
It would also be a good idea to have a backup generator installed or at least have emergency lighting installed that will then allow employees to find a safe exit from the building.
Protecting your vital data
It doesn’t bear thinking about if your business was to lose all or some of its valuable data and it could have a serious impact on your ability to function properly once things get back to normal.
One option to protect against this situation would be to use a data centre that has been designed to be low risk from the impact of earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, volcanoes, and fire, such as the services by iConnectMontana.com that are available, for instance.
Having your sensitive and vital data backed up remotely will make it much easier to get your business up and running again as quickly as possible and with the least amount of disruption.
Get your property assessed
As well as making plans to have your data backed up remotely as a safeguard it would also be a smart move to get your business premises assessed by a property professional.
They will be able to look at any structural weaknesses that could make you vulnerable to a natural disaster and suggest any suitable upgrade, such as the installation of fire doors and other initiatives that should ensure your premises are more resistant to a disaster scenario.
Get the right insurance coverage
As well as taking steps yourself to do what you can to protect the business from harm it would also make sense to look at arranging insurance cover that deals with damage to your building and interruptions to your ability to trade.
Property insurance will help to cover the cost of damage to the building and equipment inside it, such as computers and any other items that are considered integral to your ability to trade.
If your business was unable to trade for a few weeks or even longer, how would that impact on your cash flow?
Business interruption coverage will look to compensate you for lost income that would have been generated during normal operations and that could prove a lifeline to your finances in the event of a natural disaster.
Identify potential threats
Another proactive activity to look at would be to work at identifying the specific weather trends that are most likely to affect your area in particular.
Although certain weather events and natural disaster might not be that predictable and could even occur on a national scale, it is often the case that your geographical location will be more susceptible to specific weather threats than others.
For example, if you are located in a coastal area, ensuring against the prospect of flooding is likely to be a key priority.
When evacuation is not possible
You will obviously need to have a viable evacuation plan as discussed earlier, but there are circumstances where it is not appropriate or safe to leave the building.
With this in mind, it would be prudent to develop a shelter-in-place plan.
Scenarios, where you might need to shelter safely within the building, include the threat of a tornado or earthquake, or if there are critical issues relating to air contamination.
Carry out a survey of your building and try to identify what areas could be used for sheltering as safely as possible in an emergency situation.
Different threats require a different solution and it should be remembered that a tornado threat will require you to take shelter below ground, ideally, whereas flooding will dictate that you search out a higher shelter position.
An effective warning system
Having drawn up emergency contingency plans and addressed the various perils that might threaten your business and premises the last thing you want to do is fail to react quickly when disaster strikes.
This is why it is imperative that you create a robust and effective warning system for your location.
Make sure you have a warning system that operates throughout the building and can alert employees when there is a critical situation at the earliest possible opportunity.
Carry out practice drills on a regular basis and commit to frequent periodic testing of alarm system and procedures so that you know everything is in working order and everyone knows what they need to do in an emergency situation.
The fundamental point to bear in mind about natural disasters is that they can and do have a tendency to strike at a moments notice and sometimes with very little warning period.
This is why your business needs to prepare and take every possible step to ensure that if a natural disaster occurs, it has the least possible impact on your ability to continue trading as normal once the crisis has passed.
From protecting your employees to backing up your data, do you have a disaster plan and how confident are you that it will protect every aspect of your business?