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Is Your Business Prepared for Disaster?

The airwaves and the Internet are running at full steam trying to convey the minute by minute details related to the bombing at the Boston Marathon Monday April 15th, 2013. Tough day. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of the injured and those that have passed.

This is a good time to give some serious thought to disaster planning. Here are some questions that deserve serious reflection.

1. Are you prepared to handle the death of an employee or an immediate member of their family?

a. Have you given thought to what you will say to their coworkers?

b. Do you have a policy that addresses bereavement leave? If so, review it now to see if it makes sense. If not, now is the time to think about it. It’s too late when something happens.

2. Are you prepared for a disaster or terrorist event? Not going to happen? Ask the people in Boston, in New Orleans, in Seattle during the WTO riots, in Madrid, in London and in New York City.

a. Do you have emergency contact information for your staff?

b. Do you have a plan in place in the event employees cannot get into work? More importantly, how will you let them know whether the office will be open or closed?

c. What if a disaster happens during the workday? Do you have water and an emergency food supply? Do you have a first aid kit and, more importantly, do you know where it is and has it been used it since 1974? What if you lose the phones (land line and cell) and Internet? How are you going to get information from local authorities? A radio? How many offices have radios today and batteries to run those radios?

d. What about your data? Can you run your business remotely? Do you have a cloud back up of critical data?

e. What about payroll and employee benefits? You can bet that your employees will still want to get paid…?

No, by doing the above you are not going to stop a disaster from happening, but you will be in a position to move forward and recover faster. I still reflect on that month in September 1999, when my paralegal’s husband died. 33 years old. In great health, so we thought, than a massive heart attack. It rocked everybody in our office. We didn’t know what to say or what to do and had to learn on the fly. Before that we had the Nisqually earthquake, another wake up call. Did we do anything new? No. Then 9/11 occurred. That finally drove the message home. We are not the best prepared but I think we are better prepared than most. There is still more to do.

I’d love to hear what you are doing to get prepared. Shoot me an email or post a comment.



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