It’s been a few weeks since Category4 Hurricane Harvey slammed into southern Texas and hovered over the region dropping historical rainfall. The catastrophic damages are devastating. According to CoreLogic, a property analytics firm, between $25 billion and $37 billion worth of flood loss has hit homes and businesses across the region. Insurers will cover only about 30% of this damage.

Many of those affected likely never thought that they would experience this level of devastation. But lessons can be learned out of such tragedy and for business owners, having a disaster recovery or contingency plan in place can be vital to prevent interruptions in your business. Disruptions by both natural (wind and rainstorms, snowstorms, earthquakes, etc.) and human events (fires, break-ins, robbery, etc.) can occur. Regardless of the type of event, considering how your business will resume operations as quickly as possible is important.

Insurance is a big part of helping businesses get back on their feet, but other preparations are necessary as well. A written plan outlining how your business will respond in the event of an emergency or suspension is a good first step. This plan should include items such as:

  • Designate leadership structure so employees know who is in charge in the event of an emergency.
  • Identify essential business functions and staff to carry out these functions.
  • Arrange use of a secondary location to run the business.
  • Establish procedures for suppliers, vendors, and other activities critical to daily operations.
  • Duplicate vital records or documents either off-site or on “the cloud.”

Having a well-written plan is one thing, but having your employees ready and prepared is another. Perform regular drills and exercises to ensure a seamless process. In the end, employee safety is essential when a disaster occurs and not planning for it could be even more devastating.

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