Be Prepared!

Your business can be affected by a disaster when you least expect it. With a disaster can come the sudden loss of electricity or other utilities and disruption to your equipment. Are you prepared? Up to 40% of businesses affected by a disaster never reopen (Source: Insurance Information Institute). Others will reopen, but customers will have already found alternative sources. The lack of preparedness on the part of businesses can cost millions of dollars and many thousands of hours of productivity each year.

Now is the time to create or review and reinforce your pre-emergency plan. Click on Step 1 Begin Here just to the left.

Begin Here

Quick recovery depends on a fast response based on a pre-determined action plan. Get started creating or enhancing your pre-emergency plan by documenting the information in the following forms:

 

Then click on the remaining categories to the left for information and planning considerations for your equipment. Your plan should be saved and made available in hard copy and electronic formats, reviewed and updated periodically, and shared with your staff.

Electrical

Electric systems (whether utility, building, operations, back-up or renewable) are critical. The loss of electric power represents a serious threat to your business and will stop most machinery. Depending on the time of year and climate, it also raises the possibility of freeze losses, perishable goods losses due to inadequate refrigeration, and severe damage to piping and processes. Effective preparations can be made to mitigate damage.

 

Planning Considerations

What is the availability of spare circuit breakers, switchgear, and wiring if the main distribution center or service entrance equipment is damaged? Are parts readily available? How long will it take to repair or replace?

Air Conditioning and Refrigeration

Product and process refrigeration, cooling, humidity control as well as comfort cooling are all vital to your operations. A breakdown in this type of equipment can lead to spoilage, poor product quality, lost customers and potential damage to your business’ reputation. Along with repair costs, your costs can increase from renting equipment or relocating production or product storage. A good pre-emergency plan includes a few basic elements that can be planned well in advance of a refrigeration problem.

 

Planning Considerations

Your plan should include contact information for maintenance, repair, rental, and restoration resources. You should also include account numbers. List the after-hours or 24-hour emergency phone numbers; those are the ones you’ll need. Having current contact information readily available will decrease downtime.

Boilers and Pressure Vessels

How important are your boilers, air tanks, furnaces, pressure vessels and heating equipment to your operations? An unexpected breakdown of any of these, especially a lack of heating, can halt operations as many processes rely on heating.

Explosions are rare but may be a possibility. Extra expense in addition to repair costs are likely for rental units to maintain operations. 

 

Planning Considerations

Your plan should address rental boilers if feasible. Rental boiler hook-up and power supply information is necessary as well as the name, address and emergency phone number of a boiler rental agency.

Computers and Communications

The ability to utilize computers, servers, communication equipment, internet, and similar business electronics after a system upset, equipment failure or a power outage is essential. One of the biggest obstacles to getting a business back in operation after a widespread disaster is the inability to communicate with employees.

It is vital to set up a business continuity communication plan, back up electronic records to a location outside your area, and set up a system for transferring your main telephone lines to another location to stay in touch with customers, employees and vendors.

 

Planning Considerations

Your plan should evaluate the need for stand-by generators and UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply), that will keep computers and similar equipment powered until the stand-by generator has come on-line and the load is synchronized.

Mechanical and Production

An unexpected mechanical or production equipment breakdown can cost thousands of dollars to repair or replace. Much of this equipment is critical to operations, and a breakdown can result in lost income and business interruption. Newer equipment has sensitive electronic technology that is fragile and prone to failure from overvoltage. In the event of a flood, there are proper procedures to properly dry out equipment before usage.

 

Planning Considerations

Your plan should address if you have current contact information for manufacturer’s drawings, dimensions, specifications (e.g. bull gear material and hardness), repair firms, and availability of key recommended spares. Where will parts have to come from? 

Cyber and Data Breach

Computers and data are critical for commercial entities to conduct their day-to-day activities. They also pose an exposure from both disgruntled employees and outside criminals looking to monetize the entity’s information. Even with the best technology deployed, an entity runs the risk of suffering from a computer attack or data breach. Below is a resource that provides important information on how to help prevent a data breach.

 

Planning Considerations

Know what you have for data and where it is stored. Dispose of data in an appropriate manner (hardcopy and electronic) when there is no longer a business use. Hardcopy data should be shredded using a cross-cut shredder. Hard drives should be degaussed or physically destroyed.