Smart business owners develop and test a written business recovery plan to support them through disasters and help them stay in operation. Planning ahead will help your company get back to business more quickly.
- Consider your risks—How might a disaster affect your business operations? What natural disasters are most likely where you operate?
- Identify your critical business functions—What resources and personnel will you need to restore or reproduce these functions during a recovery? Assign disaster response duties to your employees.
- Identify critical suppliers—Identify suppliers, providers, shippers, resources, and other businesses you typically interact with and need to keep your business operating. Develop professional relationships with backup vendors, in case your normal vendor isn’t available due to the emergency. If your business involves food storage or refrigeration, identify a vendor in advance that sells ice and dry ice.
- Develop a crisis communications plan—How will you communicate with your employees, customers, and suppliers, especially if your operations are shut down for a period of time? Who will provide alerts and notifications? Create an emergency contact list and store it in duplicate locations.
- Consider temporary relocation—If your office building is damaged, would you need to relocate temporarily? Could your employees telework? Could you make arrangements with other companies to use their facilities if a disaster damages your location?
- Back up critical data and important records—Have paper or electronic copies of the data and documents your business needs to operate, including legal papers, insurance policies, credit agreements, billing and payroll databases, customer lists.
- Develop an information technology (IT) recovery plan—Include procedures, resource requirements, and data restoration plans for the recovery of IT networks, servers, computers, wireless devices, applications, and data. Also have a backup plan for accessing the Internet. Raise computers above the flood level and move them away from large windows. Move heavy and fragile objects to low shelves. Secure equipment that could move or fall during an earthquake.
- Review insurance coverage—Check coverage for physical losses, floods, and business interruption. Understand what your policy covers and what it does not. Maintain a written and photographic record of all important materials and equipment, and what it would cost to restore all these items, and store the record in duplicate locations.
Disclaimer: Because every emergency is different, it is important for your safety that you follow the directives of your state and local emergency management authorities and local utilities. The information provided on DOE's website is intended for general informational purposes only and is not an endorsement of any particular material or service. Before engaging in any activities that could impact utility services such as electricity or natural gas, contact your local utility to ensure that the activities are done safely.
For additional emergency-planning resources, visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency's website, ready.gov. State and local emergency management authorities and local utilities may also provide helpful guidance.