The storms and subsequent flooding that happened in our area last week, has me thinking about business disaster plans, and what can we do differently the next time we are affected, both at home and at the office.
Business Disaster Plans can vary in length and depth depending on the nature and size of your business, but at the very least should address some common what-ifs. FEMA offers this downloadable PDF document for business owners, the Emergency Management Guide for Business and Industry, where you can find additional information on planning for emergencies, response, and recovery.
While natural disasters remind us that Mother Nature is in charge, man-made disasters and hazards are also a potential threat. Either way, we need to be prepared.
Assuming you are running some sort of practice, here are a few things to think of. I’m sure this list will continue to grow as others provide their input.
- Communication: Can you contact your patients and staff? Do you have phone numbers at your fingertips? Assume you have no power or cannot access your electronic database.
- Medications, vaccines and the like are temperature sensitive, how will you keep them viable?
- Charts: Can you protect them? How will you access them? If electronic, are they backed up and away from your office? Will you be able to access the back up in a different location?
- Supplies: Can you get critical supplies if necessary? What plans do your vendors have in place? (I saw UPS and the Red Cross Disaster Relief folks driving U-haul rental vans). How will you contact them?
- What kind of business insurance do you have? What are the exclusions? Does your insurance include business interruption as well as coverage for fires and the like?
- Are you the only provider in a small town? Are you able to assist in providing emergency care to those in your locale? What supplies do you have/need in order to do so? How will you keep yourself and staff as safe as possible (think personal protective equipment)?
- If you need to evacuate your location, do you have your routes figured out? Is your staff aware of what they need to do? Are you able to get patients out of the building if necessary?
- If you are in a shared building (office building, business park, strip mall, etc), how can you interact with your neighbors to make this a smoother process? We all know that we need each other during disasters.
- Have you made an inventory complete with photos/video of your business and contents? Are all your vital papers together in one accessible spot? Again, do you have a backup?
- What home preparations have you made? Assume you will be without power for days. Perhaps the water supply will be interrupted. Heat, cold, shelter and food may be issues as well.
- Experts recommend that at a minimum you should have three days of water for each person in your home. Take the daily recommended water intake and times that by the number of people in your home.
These are just a few thoughts to get you started thinking about the unthinkable. Please add your thoughts and suggestions below about your own business disaster plans.