10 Tips for Disaster-Proofing Your Business

Depending on where your business is located in BC, you face a number of potential threats. If the worst were to happen, is your business prepared? Minimize the disruption to your business both during and after a major disaster by adopting the following ten tips for disaster-proofing your business.

1. Have Cash Accessible

It might be difficult to access your bank account in the aftermath of an extreme event. Consider keeping a few day’s worth of cash in a secure location on your business premises, should you face an issue.

2. Prepare for Power Outages

How would your business cope if power wasn’t available for an extended period? Investing in a small generator enables you to keep your cell phone charged, run your point-of-sale system, and stay afloat.

3. Reduce Your Risk of Data Loss

Our increasing reliance on cloud storage places us at risk of data interruption in the event of a disaster. Consider storing data physically and remotely to maximize the chances of accessibility.

4. Create a Recovery Plan

Take an objective look at your business and identify the vital aspects you need to continue in the event of a disaster. Identify the roles your staff will play and where the business will temporarily move if your location is damaged or unusable. The Province of BC has created this PreparedBC: Guide for Small Businesses to help prepare your recovery plan.

5. Note Emergency Contacts

Keeping lines of communication open during an extreme event is vital for the welfare of you and your staff members. Ensure up-to-date contact lists are distributed to each employee and try to list alternate numbers for each person, if possible. Include vendors, suppliers, and local utility providers.

6. Create a Kit

Whether you assemble it yourself or purchase a pre-assembled kit from a retailer, a survival kit should be considered a must. The Red Cross advises the inclusion of the following items:

  • Water (four liters per person, per day)
  • Non-perishable food (three-day supply)
  • Flashlight
  • Battery or crank-operated radio
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Any medications you (or your staff) take
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Emergency blanket
  • Map of the area

7. Prepare Your Evacuation Plan

Ensure all staff are aware of your evacuation plan. Consider how you will get staff members from your place of business to a safe location. Do you have any employees with disabilities or medical conditions? Their needs must be considered.

8. Learn Emergency Skills

Even if you aren’t planning for an emergency, taking a CPR course is always a good idea. In the same vein, learn how to safely turn off the utilities at your place of business, as leaking gas can make rescue attempts extremely dangerous.

9. Purchase Safety Equipment

Equipment like fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, first-aid kits, and a defibrillator aren’t just handy in a disaster, they should be kept close at hand during day-to-day business operations as well.

10. Practice

Each October, millions of people around the world practice how to drop, cover, and hold on during the Great ShakeOut. Exercises like this are invaluable for training your staff on how to handle emergencies. Analyze the biggest threats you may face, and guide your team on how to proceed.

Are You Prepared?

As a small business owner, you’ve invested time, effort, and finances into getting your enterprise off the ground. While none of us like to ponder the worst-case scenario, developing a disaster preparedness plan isn’t just in your best interest, it’s vital in assisting rebuilding efforts province-wide. Small businesses are vital to life in British Columbia. In fact, they make up 98% of all businesses in the province. In many communities, the local grocery store, post office, or walk-in clinic represents an integral resource that will be leaned on in an extreme event.

Small Business BC is Here to Help

SBBC is a non-profit resource centre for BC-based small businesses. Whatever your idea of success is, we’re here to provide holistic support and resources at every step of the journey. Check out our range of business webinars, on-demand E-Learning Education, our Talk to an Expert Advisories, or browse our business articles.