The Importance of Disaster Preparedness
Natural disaster planning and preparedness should be a consideration for businesses of all sizes. Studies have shown that more than 70 percent of small businesses do not have a disaster plan or adequate insurance, and that a quarter of small and mid-sized businesses impacted by a major event do not reopen.
BRAC encourages businesses to be proactive in natural disaster planning, and maintains a disaster preparation and response partnership with all regional economic development organizations and chambers of commerce in Louisiana, as well as state agencies.
How To Be Prepared
In the event that a hurricane or other major weather event impacts the Baton Rouge Area, businesses should ensure the security of their people, as well as information, equipment and resources essential to their operations and customers. They should also be prepared with the correct information for handling post-event recovery efforts.
- Have an evacuation plan that provides for everyone on the premises to leave the workplace safely and quickly,
- Maintain a list and contact information for all employees and mission-critical business partners (including emergency contact names, work and cell phones, work and/or personal email addresses, PIN numbers, etc.); the list should include employees, customers, vendors, bankers, attorneys and insurance agents,
- Establish a means of and plan for contacting employees who have been displaced from their homes by the disaster,
- Make clear arrangements for all staff to be able to contact the business or locate information about the business if it is temporarily closed or displaced from its normal location,
- Establish procedures for succession of management,
- Identify operations critical to the company’s survival and recovery,
- Decide which personnel and what records, procedures and equipment are necessary to keep the business operating,
- Preserve vital business records, financial data, accounting records, personnel information, inventory information, etc.,
- Back up computerized records daily and store the backups, along with other vital records, at an off-site location (consider the use of a remote data center, if possible),
- Plan how to continue operating if the building, physical plant or store is inaccessible,
- Review business insurance options and ensure all relevant policies, such as business interruption coverage, are in place, premium payments are up-to-date, and all proper steps have been taken to ensure claims can be made in a timely manner if necessary,
- Prepare for lengthy power interruptions during and after a disaster (i.e., arranging for alternate power sources, fuel supplies, etc.), and
- Maintain and distribute to employees and partners the contact information for FEMA and SBA disaster assistance.