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Can Your Small Business Survive a Natural Disaster?

Author: ServiceMaster Restore

Running a small business can be a major challenge in and of itself. But when disaster strikes, will your facility be able to reopen its doors? According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), about 40 to 60 percent of small businesses never reopen their doors after a disaster.

Help boost your odds and thrive after the unexpected happens with help from ServiceMaster Restore®. Follow these tips to create your own comprehensive small business disaster recovery plan, including steps to help you prepare for and recover from severe damage.

1. Check your insurance coverage

Small business insurance is incredibly valuable for a number of reasons. Most basic policies come with natural disaster coverage, but you may need additional coverage depending on your area and your specific plan. Follow these tips to ensure that you have the right insurance coverage for disasters:

  • Learn which natural disasters may impact your area. You need coverage for those events most. If your basic plan doesn’t include coverage for floods, fires, tropical storms, or other types of disasters that may be common in your area, you'll need additional insurance.
  • Review your current insurance policy. Check dollar amounts to ensure they're high enough to get you up and running again if you lose everything. If you have the right coverage, you should be able to rebuild as quickly as possible.
  • Update your plan. If you need higher coverage or additional insurance plans, add them right away. It's better to be prepared than to be completely at a loss after the disaster.

Having the right insurance coverage can allow you to reopen your doors after hurricane damage, earthquake damage, or other catastrophes that would otherwise leave you in a lurch. That's why double checking your insurance plans should be the first step you take in preparing for the worst.

Create a natural disaster preparedness plan

Having a plan in place can help you and your staff feel confident about what needs to be done if a disaster strikes. That way, you can better mitigate losses and get your company running again as soon as possible. Use these tips to create an actionable disaster recovery plan for your small business:

  • Gather emergency contact information for all employees.
  • Locate a safe space where employees can evacuate, plus routes they can take to get there.
  • Create guidelines for how staff members can stay in contact with one another.
  • Create guidelines for communicating with customers, including ways they can reach you if necessary.
  • Specify how you will access vital business records and information, including whether or not there will be an off-site location where employees will need to work until doors reopen.
  • Determine how you can protect your company's data, including how to regularly back up files to a cloud-based platform and a reliable hard drive.
  • List out contact information for the company's insurance provider, financial institutions, and a reputable disaster restoration company.
  • Make an emergency preparedness kit for your office.
  • Hand out copies of the plan and make sure all employees are aware of evacuation routes and escape procedures well in advance of a disaster.
  • Practice your action plan with all staff members and local emergency response teams to ensure that everyone knows what to do if disaster strikes.

If you need help creating your natural disaster preparedness plan, print out FEMA's business continuity and disaster preparedness plan and fill in your company's information.

Although natural disasters can be devastating and leave you feeling overwhelmed, know that you are not alone. After your company has gone through its business continuity plan, call on ServiceMaster Restore to help you through crisis to resolution. Our comprehensive services include commercial large loss, data and electronic restoration, weather damage restoration, and more to help your company get back on its feet as quickly as possible.

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