There are two things every business should always have on hand: a complete and updated emergency response plan and a stocked emergency supply kit.

A disaster of any size could have a large impact on your business. Natural disasters like hurricanes can mean your business closing for a period of time and impacts to electricity, internet service, damage to your business and inventory, insurance changes and more.

Taking the steps to build a business disaster continuity plan, as well as encouraging your employees to create a family emergency plan, can reduce the financial and physical impact on your business. It is important to consider how a disaster could affect your employees, customers and workplace.

Step 1: Put together a business plan by answering these questions:

  1. How will you and your employees receive emergency alerts and warnings? What happens if you lose cell phone or internet service?
  2. What is the shelter plan for employees?
  3. What is the evacuation route for employees?
  4. What is your business communication plan? Do your employees have this information available (even if they lose cell phone or internet service)?
  5. Is your insurance information up-to-date, and do you have recent photographs of your business and its contents?
  6. Have you budgeted for emergency supplies, down time, or disaster recovery needs?

Step 2:  Consider specific needs of your business:

  1. Would flooding impact your business? If so, do you have a plan to keep important documents, inventory and technology safe from floodwaters?
  2. Do you need employees to remain during an evacuation to secure your business? If so, is there a plan in place for this?
  3. If you lose electricity, do you have a plan for generator backup?
  4. How would you manage your business if nearby streets are closed?
  5. How would you continue to work if you were without cell phone or internet service for days or even weeks?

Step 3: Create an emergency plan and share with your employees

  1. Make sure the plan is available even if cell phone or internet service is down.
  2. Contact your local SBDC to get additional business preparedness assistance or to help you create an emergency plan.
  3. Update your plan quarterly and make sure all new employees understand the plan.