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Idea Exchange: Disaster Preparedness and Planning

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Idea Exchange: Disaster Preparedness and Planning

By JimD
Published: July 1, 2010

An estimated 25 percent of businesses do not reopen following a major disaster, according to the Institute for Business and Home Safety. Getting back to business after a disaster depends on preparedness planning done today. In our monthly Idea Exchange, where we pose questions to the Community about various topics, as well as the content, features or services provided by Business.gov, we asked;What is one action all businesses should take to prepare for a disaster or emergency?

Her-s what our members had to say about how their businesses have prepared for a disaster or emergency:

Prepare a Disaster Plan. Every business or company should come up with a disaster plan for different types of disasters as marthin and BizResearcher suggested. This should include step-by-step written instructions for employees to follow. Learn how to create a disaster plan at Business.gov.

Post the Disaster Plan and Practice, Practice, Practice. Posting the disaster plan makes sure that everyone in the business knows about it and can help when the time comes. DJ proposes that it is worth the expense to have the proper training sessions to make sure everyone is prepared. Training sessions should include everyone, not just the leadership team.

Have Supplies Ready. When a disaster strikes, it will be too late to make sure you have the proper supplies. Items like a first aid kid, flashlights, blankets, and cell phone chargers can help if your employees get hurt or need to remain at the workplace. Learn about what should be in an emergency kit from Ready.gov, a website promoting readiness and preparedness for individuals and businesses.

Have a Communication Tree. promo-products says that an intranet is a good place to store contact information for employees. Having information like cell phone, home phone, and email allows your staff to be in communication whether they are on- or off-site. Remember to keep a paper copy of your communication tree in case your intranet is inaccessible during the disaster.

Create Offsite Backup of E-Files. Almost everyone suggested that having offsite backups of all vital data is essential. Vital data may include customer records, accounting records, intellectual property, employee information, payroll records, and more. Local external hard drives are good for daily backups, but in worse-case scenarios, those may also be destroyed. There are many options for creating offsite backups, but some things to consider are security, location, and accessibility. Location of offsite backups is important because if there is a regional natural disaster, the backup may be in danger as well.

Prepare a Post-Disaster Plan. Your disaster pla's first priority should keep your employees and business safe, but getting back to business can be just as important. Knowing what to do after the disaster can minimize downtime and get your business back online. CarlLakeside says that his company has a disaster fund. Dgoldie reminds everyone to communicate with your clients and suppliers. When a disaster hits, it may only affect your company, and your clients and suppliers need to know how they will be impacted. If needed assistance is available for following a disaster. Learn more about disaster assistance at Business.gov

Thanks to everyone who shared how they have prepared for disasters and emergencies. If you would like to read all the responses or see past idea exchanges, visit the Past Idea Exchange board.

More Resources on Preparing for Disasters and Emergencies

Wha's Next for the Idea Exchange?

The current idea exchange'How do you use traditional and new media marketing together? will run until August 4. Please submit your thoughts and vote on the ideas you agree with by clicking Kudos!

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