Businesses that recover quickly are those that plan in advance. This involves not only purchasing the right insurance, but also developing and maintaining an adequate recovery plan.
MINIMISE THE RISK OF DAMAGE IN ADVANCE OF AN EMERGENCY BY:
- Training employees in fire safety, particularly those responsible for storage areas, housekeeping, maintenance and operations where open flames or flammable substances are used.
- Testing and if necessary modernising the electrical system since faulty wiring causes a large percentage of non-residential fires.
- Ensuring computer monitors and television screens are not left on stand by mode when not in use. It is estimated that there are around 700 fires a year from this source.
- Stopping the overloading of power boards and where possible eliminating them altogether. Where they are required purchase good quality ones and have them tested on a regular basis.
- Ban smoking within all buildings (in line with occupation and health regulations)
- Carefully control any hot works – grinding, welding, cutting etc.
- Situating your business in a fire-resistant building – a structure made of non-combustible materials with firewalls that create barriers to the spread of fires – and in a building with a fire alarm system connected to the local fire department. It is also a good idea to have a sprinkler system to douse fires.
- Limiting storm-related damage by making sure the building conforms to damage-resistant building codes.
DEVELOP A BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLAN BY:
- Keeping up-to-date triplicate records of both electronic and written records. In some jurisdictions, if companies fail to maintain and safeguard accurate business records, the company may still be held liable.
- Identifying the critical business activities and the resources needed to support them in order to maintain customer service while your business is closed for repairs.
- Planning for the worst possible scenario. Do research before a disaster strikes by finding alternative facilities, equipment and supplies, and locating qualified contractors to repair your facility.
- Setting up an emergency response plan and training employees how to execute it.
- Considering the resources you may need to activate during an emergency such as back-up sources of power and communications systems. Also, stockpiling the supplies you may need such as first-aid kits, and flashlights.
- Compiling a list of important phone numbers (including cell phone numbers) and addresses, including local and state emergency management agencies, major clients, contractors, suppliers, realtors, financial institutions, insurance broker/adviser and loss management expert. The list should also include employees and company officials. Keep copies off the premises in case the disaster is widespread. Ideally a copy should be kept on the net using a service such as LMIContinuityCoach.
- Deciding on a communications strategy to prevent loss of your customers. Clients must know how to contact your company at its new location. Among the possibilities to explore, depending on the circumstances, are posting notices outside the original premises; contacting clients by phone, e-mail or regular mail; placing a notice or advertisement in local newspapers; and asking friends and acquaintances in the local business community to help disseminate the information.
- Review and exercise your plan on a regular basis and communicate changes to key employees.
Use your Business Continuity Plan including the risk assessment, business impact analysis and business continuity plan to set your indemnity period, level of wages cover, and additional increase cost of working. It also assists in determining what extensions to the standard cover are required. Your insurance broker or adviser should be able to assist you here.
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