10 Point Plan to Prepare Small Businesses for Disasters 

Disasters are not always predictable. If you prepare a disaster recovery plan, and practice a dry run of the plan, a disaster does not have to surprise you or your business.

Your business disaster recovery plan should include:

1. Make a communications plan
If there is a disaster or emergency, who will contact the employees? Where should they go? What can they do? You need a plan that can cover any emergency and a way to communicate the plan.

  • Calling tree, email alerts, automated phone alerts
  • List of all employees and contact information
  • Update your website as soon as possible
  • If an evaluation is necessary, include information on what should be removed from the office

2. Make an emergency plan
Practice evacuations from your place of business. Encourage employees and staff to have a home disaster recovery plan.

  • Emergency supplies, contact numbers and safe locations

3. List your key contributions
Make a list of key contributors and duties. Name the person(s) who will fulfill those duties if the key contributor cannot be there.

4. Document key processes
In advance of an emergency, document key business processes and operations, key suppliers and clients.

  • Find out what data should be recorded, how often to update and back up
  • Who should have access
  • Keep at multiple secure locations

5. Ensure access to materials
If your business relies on specialized materials, ask your supplier how it will continue deliveries under emergency circumstances.

  • Consider establishing relationships with more than one supplier

6. Safeguard your digital information
Back up computers regularly, with a copy kept at a secure offsite location.

  • Safeguard who will have access to it

7. Keep carrier contacts current
Keep a list of your insurance coverages at the office and in another secure location.

  • Know who to call to start the claims process
  • Find out what specific information you will need at claim time
  • Videotape your business to show contents and machinery
  • Keep it current

8. Evaluate your needs
Meet regularly with your insurance professional to evaluate your property and casualty insurance needs and secure amounts of coverage that can provide the assets needed to continue normal operations.

9. Maintain your emergency equipment
Inspect and service smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, surveillance equipment, fire extinguishers and first aid kits.

10. Prepare for a power outage
Keep flashlights and battery powered radios on site. Check batteries regularly. Don’t rely on candles or lanterns. Plan for an alternate heat source in cold weather.