BE PREPARED: HAVE A STORM
PLAN FOR YOUR BUSINESS|
A hurricane is just one of many natural disasters that business owners must prepare for.
In creating your business's natural disaster preparedness plan, owners must first conduct a self-assessment of their business. They need to ask themselves such questions as:
1. Have I determined what parts of my business need to be operational as soon as possible following a disaster, and plan how to resume those operations?
2. Do we have a disaster plan in place to help ensure the safety of each
staff person until help can arrive?
In creating your business self-assessment questionnaire, talk to your
company's financial institution, insurance company and local public
officials about continuation of operations planning.
2. Physical resources
Here are several ideas to help you start your plan.
• An employee list, including yourself. Include information such as phone
numbers, address and person to contact in case of an emergency.
• Employee transportation — after the disaster, how will they get to you?
Is there public transportation available?
• Child care for employee's children.
Suppliers and vendors
This list will be needed to contact your suppliers and vendors with post-disaster information. You should know and have a commitment from alternate suppliers in case your main suppliers are affected as well.
• This list includes your banks, creditors, insurance companies and
• List time-sensitive functions — bills due, insurance claims filing and follow-up, state and federal assistance plans, payroll.
As owner, you need to decide which parts of your business function are
critical to your survival and outline the details of each function. You will
need to prioritize these functions into high, medium or low. Example: If the
holder of office keys and alarm codes cannot get to the company, is there a
backup person with this information?
This is not a comprehensive list. Communication and computers, for
instance, were not addressed due to space constraints.
Once you have completed your plan, remember to store it in a safe
Whenever a tropical storm or hurricane takes aim at our state, Florida's chief financial officer, Tom Gallagher, activates a special consumer help line through which you can seek assistance on any insurance matter. The number is 1-800-22-STORM (1-800-227-8676).