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How to Protect Your Business From a Natural Disaster

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Nobody likes to think about the possibility of their business being disrupted – or potentially destroyed – by a natural disaster. But the better prepared you are, the less likely you’ll be to face the consequences of such an event.

Spending a few weeks and a few thousand dollars can equip you with the knowledge, resources, and experience you need to ensure your business can survive almost any natural threat.

Understand the Specific Risks Faced by Your Business

First, work to understand the specific risks faced by your business. For example, if your business is in Tornado Alley, you may have to worry about tornados and high winds interfering with your business. If your business is in California, tornados won’t be an issue – but you may have to worry about earthquakes. If your business has locations all around the United States, you may face a litany of different threats at different locations. Make sure you take inventory of these potential threats and account for them appropriately.

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Get the Right Kinds of Insurance

The best way to financially protect your business is to invest in insurance. The right insurance policy can kick in and protect your business’s financial interests if you’re ever hit with certain types of natural disasters. Some types of general property insurance will cover the expenses associated with replacing your assets if they’re damaged in natural disasters. However, do note that not all property insurance policies protect against all forms of natural disasters.

In many areas, you’ll need an additional policy that caters to specific threatening events; for example, you may need to purchase additional flood insurance if you live in an area that’s highly susceptible to flooding.

Additionally, you may want to invest in business interruption insurance. This insurance will cover your business temporarily if it’s ever forced to halt operations for a period of time.

Purchase a Generator

Next, invest in a generator for your business – especially if it depends on electricity to remain operational and continue generating a profit. A suitable containerized diesel generator can provide supplementary power for practically all your business’s needs and ensure that even a lengthy electricity outage isn’t going to stop you from operating. Even a small generator can provide you with uninterrupted power for the basic needs of your business, such as powering emergency floodlights and refrigeration units.

Install Physically Protective Barriers

In some cases, you can guard against threatening natural disasters with physical barriers and other installations. For example, if you know that a hurricane is coming, you can use wood, duct tape, and other materials to protect your windows from shattering – and keep your most important files and records in a centralized location that won’t be directly exposed to wind and rain if the windows break.

Establish Offsite Backups

It’s a good idea to establish offsite backups for everything you can. In other words, if one of your business locations is completely obliterated, would you be able to access data, applications, and other materials somewhere else? In the modern era, most businesses host their data and applications in the cloud, so they don’t have to worry about a critical infrastructure loss. If you’re managing all your own servers, make sure you have multiple locations with backups.

Put Together an Emergency Response Plan

You can proactively guard against natural disasters, but you can’t prevent them from happening. If and when a natural disaster hits your business, you’ll want to have an emergency response plan in place – so make the effort to create one before you need it.

Consider:

  •         Evacuation. If your business is typically occupied by employees and/or customers, how are you going to evacuate in case of an unfolding emergency? Do you have a way to direct people out of the building or get them to somewhere safe inside the building? Are all your emergency exits clearly labeled?
  •         Backup systems. What kind of backup systems are you going to have in place? Will you have backup power generators? Which systems are most important for your business’s operations? Which ones are less critical?
  •         Communication. How are you going to communicate about this natural disaster? Will you be able to reach people in remote locations? How will you inform employees? Will they be ready to respond when they receive a certain communication?
  •         Restoration. What happens when the danger is over and you need to re-establish normal business operations? How will you restore things back to order?

Spending even a few hours thinking about emergency and natural disaster preparedness can put your business in a much better-protected spot. The last thing you want is for your business to be completely devastated just because you were caught off guard by a natural event.