While some disasters, such as natural disasters and accidents resulting in more significant destruction, are inevitable, we can still plan for them. Such disasters can prove detrimental to smaller businesses in particular. To reduce the impact of such disasters, disaster preparedness is critical. 

We consulted with the business and disaster preparedness experts and here is their advice on what you need to work on;

  1. Make Sure Your Building Meets The Necessary Specifications For Earthquake Safety 

This is a very important measure in order to make sure that your employees are safe. In addition to that, your properties, including documents, computer units, and such, are also safe from the aftereffects of the earthquake. The government has imposed guidelines on new building requirements since the 1990s, so buildings made from 1990  onwards are generally safe. However, if your building was built way before that, it is best to have it reevaluated by engineers to ensure that it can withstand earthquakes.

Matt Richmond, Marketing Specialist Buy Moldavite

  1. Make Sure All Important Documents And Contact Information Is Available Remotely

Natural disasters can completely obliterate all your company’s paperwork. Your company should make a plan to regularly scan and digitize important paperwork and store it somewhere secure. Consider how employees would be able to safely and securely access needed documents when working from home.

  1. Online Security Concerns For Remote Workers

After a large-scale disaster, a large portion of your workforce might need to work remotely. Unfortunately, there are a lot of security risks that come with home offices. Make sure your disaster plan includes security measures for employees working at home, such as two-factor authentication for logging into systems and encryption tools. 

Technology alone won’t keep your company safe from cyberattacks during this vulnerable time, though. Your employees need to be regularly trained in how to safely work from home. You’d be surprised how many security breaches happen because employees let their kids use their laptops or save content to their devices.

  1. Designate Your Disaster Skeleton Staff

In the ideal world, every single worker would safely evacuate from the disaster zone and be able to work remotely so your company could keep functioning as usual during the cleanup and insurance claims process. But it rarely occurs this way. Staff members might be displaced in crowded shelters where they can’t reasonably be expected to work. Maybe they had to evacuate without their laptops or devices being destroyed in the disaster. Or maybe they simply aren’t in the mental or physical state to work. 

To prepare for this situation, determine the minimum tasks which need to be done to keep your business surviving (“surviving” being the keyword here, not “thriving”). Then determine how many staff you need to achieve this. Are there any operations that only one staff member can do? Think about how your company could continue to function if this staff member were incapacitated.

Diane Vukovic, disaster preparedness expert at Primal Survivor and author of Disaster Preparedness for Women

  1. Selection of a Disaster Restoration Vendor

The best way for a small business to mitigate the destructive effects of a natural disaster is to have a disaster plan in place. One of the most important aspects of a disaster plan is the selection of a disaster restoration vendor; this vendor will be responsible for restoring your business after a fire, flood, or other natural disaster. 

Make sure to establish a relationship with a vendor ahead of time and find one that is reputable. Does the vendor offer a 24/7 response time? Do they have the staff, equipment, and experience to handle small and large disasters? Do they offer any service guarantees? Speak to several references to get a feel for the company’s reputation. After a natural disaster, getting back to business is key. A reputable restoration vendor will work quickly and efficiently to minimize business interruption.

Diana Rodriguez-Zaba, President ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba;  a disaster restoration company in Chicago, IL, and the suburbs.

  1. Create An Emergency Operations Plan

Should a natural disaster end up affecting business, you need to have a well-drawn out plan of what you and your employees will do in the days and hours that follow. However, keep in mind that creating such a plan will also require getting feedback from your staff as well to ensure that everyone is in agreement with the procedures put in place. They need to also understand each part of the plan and be ready to implement it when and if necessary.

  1. Back-Up Important Company Data

You should also aim to protect yourself legally by ensuring all your important business documents and paperwork are backed up digitally in an off-site location. This often includes securing things like payroll information, tax forms, etc. In this respect, it pays to get a cloud-based provider that can help store and backup your company data, which will also allow you to conveniently access the information no matter where you are, thereby allowing you to keep business running smoothly.

  1. Review Your Insurance Policy

It is also a good idea to meet with an insurance advisor who can help you review your company’s existing coverage and make sure that your current policy’s limits are high enough to cover a full replacement. In most cases, people often find out too late that they should have invested in additional coverage, so make sure that you don’t end up being caught out should a natural disaster occur.

Eden Cheng, Co-Founder of PeopleFinderFree

  1. Shut Off Anything Connected to Electricity

Some ideas for natural disaster safety tips when preparing for a storm include shutting off electrical breakers in your office, turning off anything that plugs into an outlet in your building (running computers, coffee makers, electric lights), unplugging any electronic equipment that needs to be plugged in (stereos, TVs), checking the manufacturer’s specifications on every piece of equipment you use to make sure it meets national industry codes or conforms with standard practices published by research universities.

Robin Brown, CEO at VIVIPINS

  1. Business Impact Analysis

A business impact analysis (BIA) can help businesses predict how a natural disaster would affect them in terms of lost or delayed sales income, expenses due to repair work, and delayed execution of business plans. A BIA helps businesses identify possible gaps in an existing preparedness plan, including inventory management and customer communication. Andrew Bernstein, the CEO and Co-Founder of Kinder Beauty.