Planning for low-likelihood, high-impact events

Last summer, Hurricane Irene was a wake-up call for many of us as to the vulnerability of Long Island to get hit with a major disaster. But what if the disaster only hit your business? Could your business survive if you lost your most valuable asset…you or your key employees to an accident? A fire or flood can put a business out for good if it cannot recover quickly. “Up to 40% of businesses affected by a natural or human-caused disaster never reopen.” (Source: Insurance Information Institute)

Disasters don’t always come in large scales, but having a plan will improve your company’s ability to survive and recover no matter what size disaster strikes. There’s no “tailored” plan for every business or circumstance because everyone’s business is different.

Here are some ideas to start your thinking and planning:

Backup computer data systems regularly; “Off site” backups can be backed up on servers outside of the region.

Keeping apprised of community warning systems and evacuation routes.

Identify where you and your employees may seek shelter from all types of hazards.

Determine how to communicate with employees and customers in the event of an emergency.

Collect and assemble a disaster supply kit, including a portable generator.

Document Locations – Fireproof, crush-proof safe box to store crucial documents.

Cross train personnel and have the right people in place.

Document passwords and access codes to trustworthy individuals.

Review your insurance coverage and deductibles.

Types of emergencies include earthquakes, fire, electrical or other utility outages, hazardous materials spills, tsunami, and acts of terrorism or severe storms. These are all real possibilities, most without advanced notice. Remember a disaster plan exists for safety as well as business continuity.

Here are a few websites that offer free advice to emergency preparedness:

http://www.fema.gov
http://www.ready.gov/
http://www.preparemybusiness.org/

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