By Rhonda Campbell
Few things may be more unnerving to a small business owner than weather storms that cause thousands or millions of dollars of damage to your company. Broken windows, carpet ruined from flooding and wind damaged office furniture are just a few types of damage you could incur after a weather storm touches down. The events are unfortunate. Yet, if you develop and test business continuity plans, you and your staff can be prepared to manage through weather storms.
Responding to Weather Storms
Don’t wait until a local weather forecast alerts you to a storm that’s expected to arrive within 72 or fewer hours. Start building a business continuity team to create emergency plans for your small business. Components of business continuity plans generally include a directory of employees and contractors, division or department level organizational charts, floor plans that show seating assignments for staff members and locations of alternate work locations should you and your workers have to vacate your normal working space.
Employee and contractors directories should include the names, home addresses, work telephone numbers, home telephone numbers and email address of staff members. You and members of your small business management team should keep confidential copies of the contact lists. It’s a good idea to develop and keep a copy of print and electronic contact files for employees and contractors. This way, should computers go down after a national weather or a local weather forecast becomes reality, you and your management team will have paper contact lists for your staff.
Prepare Early to Manage through Weather Storms
Also, keep names and contact information on file of local emergency organizations. This way you won’t have to stay on hold waiting for busy 911 operators to respond to your calls. Names and contact information of your small business partners and major clients should also be a part of your business continuity plans. You might have to contact these people and let them know of alternate work locations, work hours, etc. that you have to put in place after a hazardous weather report becomes reality.
Other types of information you should keep at hand include contact information for your insurance company. In fact, after you hear about approaching inclement weather on the weather channel or on a local weather forecast, it’s a good idea to locate contact information for the insurance company that covers your small business as well as the insurance company that covers your home and personal auto.
Just as your staff benefit from knowing how to respond to weather storms, you’re family members can benefit from knowing what to do in the event of inclement weather. Although being prepared may not prevent an emergency weather report from coming to pass, being prepared can help lower your staff, family members and your own worries. Being prepared could also save you money as you avoid wasting time pondering what to do while surveying damages caused to your business or home during weather storms.
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