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Natural disasters can disrupt businesses for days, weeks, or even months. Read our tips for creating a plan to get your business back to normal.
By Caterpillar | Posted: October 1, 2021 | Revised: March 28, 2022
A natural disaster disrupts everything from your daily schedule to the ability of your business to continue operations. It can also threaten physical safety and put critical company assets, like your heavy equipment, in harm's way. How you prepare for a natural disaster can mean the difference between days and months spent getting your business back to normal.
A solid plan goes a long way towards helping you and your business recover once the danger passes. Read our tips for creating plans and preparing for the worst:
Different disasters come with different risks, and it's important to understand the possible effects of every type of catastrophic event. For example, natural disasters can come with mandatory evacuations, and your business may have to shut down for a period. Ask yourself:
Business disaster prep encompasses several areas. Unlike preparing for a disaster at home, your business may have a large network of customers, employees, and vendors. An essential component of safety and preparedness is defining plans and expectations for everyone involved in your company.
Pro tip: establish a disaster planning team to assist with plan development and communication efforts.
Your disaster plan should have 3 components:
1. Emergency Preparation Plan - This includes preparing an emergency kit and making evacuation plans. These two areas will play the biggest role during the disaster. Consider how you'll secure your building when you leave, how employees should exit the building, and what items you'll need in a grab-and-go kit. Your plan should include:
Your two priorities during the preparation phase are your people (employees and customers) and your assets. Think about the steps you can take to protect them — both physically and financially.
While this isn't a comprehensive list for disaster prep, it can help keep you and your team more informed when an unexpected natural disaster occurs. Reference the Ready.gov website for detailed guides on developing response plans for specific disasters. And be ready to act. Take advanced warnings seriously and don’t wait until the last minute to get prepared.
2. Continuity Plan To Meet Industry Regulations - Without a continuity plan, your business could run into some unwanted trouble. Some industries, like health care and government, have strict regulations for disaster prep and continuity. While you can incur fines from regulatory organizations, you can also jeopardize relationships with customers, vendors and other business that rely on you.
Continuity plans can help keep operations going by outlining processes and contingencies. They address every aspect of the business that may be affected. To create one of these plans, you’ll need to identify:
3. Recovery Plan For Support And Assistance - A recovery plan can help get your business up and running (and generating revenue) after disaster strikes. Here are 4 things your plan should include:
Now that you've defined your plan, it's time to put it into action. Here's a few tips to make it a success:
Disaster plans aren't as common as they should be. Why?
Check out these articles that can guide your business's disaster planning:
If you take the time to think about these things in advance, you’ll find that the response and recovery process is less stressful, and often less costly to your business.
We're here to help before, during and after a disaster. Reach out to your Cat dealer for rental power and equipment, maintenance and more. For insurance questions and claims, contact our team at Cat Financial.
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