Sunday, May 22, 2011

Unexpected Natural Disaster

With recent disasters caused by tornadoes in the South, flooding in the Midwest and fires in Texas, the possibility that an unexpected natural disaster could strike close to home is real one.

The key to dealing with a natural disaster's aftermath is preparation beforehand.

In order to plan according, disaster planners should take into account how Mother Nature can damage properties; through wind, water and earthquake.

A great plan focuses on protecting a business's three biggest assets:

1.  Property (Building, Equipment and Vehicles)

2.  Accounts Receivables / Clients

3.  Employees

For our purposes we will focus on your employees and the things you need to do before, during and after a disaster.

Before disaster strikes:

Make sure you have up-to-date information about your employees.

You should update your records twice a year to ensure you have your employees' correct address, home and cell numbers and current emergency contact information.

You should also establish a business emergency phone tree. Create a small business card that shows who should call whom and then give each employee a copy of the card. Having a phone tree is great way to disperse information quickly to multiple people  without having one person make all the calls.

Establish a protocol for what your employees should do as far as evacuating and office building or going into shelter if your building has one. Conduct an annual drill to make sure your plans actually work.

If your employees work outside or use vehicles as part their job you should establish and employees as to what they should do in case of an emergency. Company vehicles should be in compliance with OSHA and Dot regulations but you should also have disaster kits made that take into account all likely emergencies.

If your type of business benefits from or is essential after a disaster, decide in advance how you will likely get
open after a disaster has struck.

During a disaster:

Make sure you actually do what you practiced and emphasize that protecting your people is priority on. Stay clam and remember that your business has prepared for this very situation.

After a disaster :

You will be using your phone tree to make sure everyone is Ok.

Some business create an emergency fund for employees. This fund usually consists of employees contributions plus matching funds from the business. It can be used for hotel stays, food purchases or other disaster-related needs. Some businesses work out cooperative arrangements with each other to swap services in times of emergency

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