“PGi provides collaboration solutions and support for businesses of all sizes, from start-ups and SMBs to some of the largest companies in the world. We’re committed to helping your business thrive in all aspects, and in that spirit, we’ve partnered with AllState for a series of tips and advice on running and protecting your business.”
Everyone knows it’s a good idea to plan ahead financially for a rainy day. But if that rain turns to a hailstorm or another unexpected, potentially damaging weather event, is your business just as prepared?
That’s where you, as the business owner, come in. Whether you’re just starting to make a business preparedness plan or you’re looking to improve the one you have, read on for ways to help protect your business, employees and customers in the event Mother Nature throws an emergency your way.
Do Your Research
One great place to look for information on creating a preparedness plan for your business is Ready.gov. There, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) lays out what you need to know to help you create, implement and improve your business’ preparedness plan. Here are some major points to consider:
Regulations: According to FEMA, one of the first steps you’ll want to take is to look into any laws that might apply to your business’ plan. For example, the Operational Safety and Health Administration says companies with more than 10 employees must have a written emergency plan, while smaller companies can simply inform their workers of the plan verbally.
Local risks: What types of severe weather typically affect your community? Take steps to prepare for the weather events your area experiences more often. Are tornadoes common? Do you often experience ice storms that cut the power? What about hurricanes? In addition to taking steps to prepare for the weather events your area experiences more often, FEMA says it’s also important to take general preparedness steps that will help you in any type of emergency — just in case something less expected occurs.
Business impact analysis: In addition to knowing what types of risks your business might run, it’s also good to understand how your business might be affected should a severe weather event happen. FEMA says this type of analysis not only lets you know the potential impact, but it also helps you take steps to prevent damage from severe weather and other emergencies.
Create and Implement Your Plan
According to FEMA, there are several things your business preparedness plan should address:
- Resources you’ll need for your plan, from personnel to materials to funding
- Emergency response plan addressing the steps to take immediately following an emergency, such as warning employees to evacuate.
- Crisis communications to your employees and other stakeholders
- Business continuity, or how your company will resume and continue operations after an emergency
- Information technology for critical processes
- Employee assistance and support
- Incident management: a system to define responsibilities and coordinate the response
- Training for those with defined roles, as well as all employees
Once your plan is in place, officials also recommend that you test it, review the results and then implement any changes to make it better. Conducting a regular review of your plan can also help you make sure you keep it up to date as your company grows and changes.
You might also want to take a look at your business insurance policy, especially if you’ve recently made any changes that could affect the types of coverage your business may need, and set time aside to go over your existing coverage when you conduct your regular emergency preparedness review. If you have questions, your insurance agent can give you information to help you choose coverages to protect your company.