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Tips For Developing a Business Disaster Plan

A natural disaster disrupts everything from your daily schedule to the ability of your business to continue operations. It can also threaten physical safety and put critical company assets, like your heavy equipment, in harm's way. How you prepare for a natural disaster can mean the difference between days and months spent getting your business back to normal.

A solid plan goes a long way towards helping you and your business recover once the danger passes. Read our tips for creating plans and preparing for the worst:

Know the Risks Your Business Faces
Different disasters come with different risks, and it's important to understand the possible effects of every type of catastrophic event. For example, natural disasters can come with mandatory evacuations, and your business may have to shut down for a period. Ask yourself:
  • How will you prepare for this event with minimal financial impact?
  • Do you have insurance for property damage?
Create Your Business Disaster Prep and Recovery Plan
Business disaster prep encompasses several areas. Unlike preparing for a disaster at home, your business may have a large network of customers, employees, and vendors. An essential component of safety and preparedness is defining plans and expectations for everyone involved in your company.

Pro tip: establish a disaster planning team to assist with plan development and communication efforts.

Your disaster plan should have 3 components:
1. Emergency Preparation Plan – This includes preparing an emergency kit and making evacuation plans. These two areas will play the biggest role during the disaster. Consider how you'll secure your building when you leave, how employees should exit the building, and what items you'll need in a grab-and-go kit. Your plan should include:
  • Essential supplies and equipment (in a safe location)
  • An evacuation plan
  • Emergency contact lists for employees and vendors
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Data backups and digital programs for valuable information
  • Property, equipment, and product documentation
  • An understanding of insurance coverage and relevant contacts
Your two priorities during the preparation phase are your people (employees and customers) and your assets. Think about the steps you can take to protect them — both physically and financially.

While this isn't a comprehensive list for disaster prep, it can help keep you and your team more informed when an unexpected natural disaster occurs. Reference the Ready.gov website for detailed guides on developing response plans for specific disasters. And be ready to act. Take advanced warnings seriously and don’t wait until the last minute to get prepared.

2. Continuity Plan To Meet Industry Regulations – Without a continuity plan, your business could run into some unwanted trouble. Some industries, like health care and government, have strict regulations for disaster prep and continuity. While you can incur fines from regulatory organizations, you can also jeopardize relationships with customers, vendors and other business that rely on you.
Continuity plans can help keep operations going by outlining processes and contingencies. They address every aspect of the business that may be affected. To create one of these plans, you’ll need to identify:
  • Team roles and responsibilities
  • Tasks needed to uphold operations
  • Maintenance procedures
  • Communication plan with employees, vendors and customers
3. Recovery Plan For Support And Assistance – A recovery plan can help get your business up and running (and generating revenue) after disaster strikes. Here are 4 things your plan should include:
  • Assess the damage and evaluate the state of your business and assets only after the danger has passed. Communicate with employees and clients accordingly.
  • Know your options for financial assistance after disaster strikes. The U.S. Small Business Administration offers tips to help get you started.
  • Review your insurance policies and submit claims.
  • If you're a Cat Financial customer, you may qualify for additional support. Contact us for details.
Keys to Successful Business Disaster Recovery Planning
Now that you've defined your plan, it's time to put it into action. Here's a few tips to make it a success:
  • Communicate frequently leading up to peak potential disaster season(s)
  • Hold regular training and encourage questions and feedback
  • Make adjustments to your plans as needed
Why Don’t More Businesses Have a Disaster Recovery Plan?
Disaster plans aren't as common as they should be. Why?
  • “It won’t happen to me.” You'll be hard pressed to find many locations in North America that aren’t at risk for a disruptive event – earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, high winds, wildfires, volcanos, ice storms, blizzards, and, of course, man-made hazards.
  • “It takes time.” It does. But having a plan will be worth it when you're able to continue operations while keeping your people safe.
  • “I don’t know what to do.” It’s true – there’s a lot to think about. It can be overwhelming. Thankfully, there’s a wealth of good advice out there, so we’ve rounded up some helpful articles to make it easy to get started.
Contact Us
We're here to help before, during and after a disaster. Contact your product support representative at [email protected] / 844-349-4353.

You may still receive alerts about your customer account from Peterson Cat. Click here for our privacy policy.

If you've made a mistaken, click here to subscribe to our newsletters at any time.

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