Everybody’s Business: Businesses need disaster plan

Every business is faced with situations involving employees, products, services, customers, supplies, etc. and all these take up valuable time.

Planning for events that may or may not happen continues to be delayed. Such as what happens when and if there is a natural disaster. Of course with the recent earthquake in Washington. D.C., the fires in east Texas, the flooding in New York, and of course the tornado of 2007 here in Clovis, having a disaster plan makes good business sense. According to Marcus Pollock of the chief standards and technology branch of U.S. Department of Homeland Security, big businesses usually have a disaster plan in place, while smaller companies do not. He went on to say the ramifications of not having a working disaster plan can be a second devastating setback to a business.

Of course the first thing to consider is protection of the businesses most valuable assets, employees. Communication after the disaster is as critical as during the event. When all forms of likely communication are down several backup methods should be known to all employees. Medical and psychological assistance after the disaster with the employee as well as the employee’s family members are critical. Communications with customers are essential as well.

Basic supplies that will be needed during and after the disaster should be included in the plan. Copies of important documents such as insurance policies, building plans, bank account records, financial records, and employee contact information are necessary to have. Copies of these documents and others in an off-site location should be incorporated.

The disaster plan should be communicated to employees and practiced on a regular basis. Protecting the businesses investment such as reviewing insurance coverage, adding business interruption insurance, preparing for utility disruptions, securing the facilities after the disaster, and protecting data and information systems are steps needed to make the plan complete.

A disaster of any kind or level can have a detrimental effect on any business. Preparing for the future growth of a business includes development of a disaster plan, it makes good business sense.

Sandra Taylor-Sawyer is director of the Small Business Development Center at Clovis Community College. Call the center at 769-4136 or visit www.nmsbdc.org/clovis