We all witnessed Hurricane Ian make landfall in the United States twice, wreaking havoc in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, leaving more than 2.5 million people without power and wreaking devastating and incomprehensible destruction.
Florida had never seen a storm surge like this. Governor DeSantis called it “basically his 1 in 500 flood event.” Fort Myers Beach and nearby communities were devastated by a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained wind speeds of 150 mph.
As the official death toll continues to climb, so do estimates of the damage caused by Hurricane Ian. His CNBC recently estimated that total at $47 billion.
Natural disasters like this highlight the need for all businesses to have business continuity and disaster recovery plans to ensure a speedy recovery. FEMA estimates that 40% of businesses without such plans will never recover after such a disaster. Two years later, he was only 29% still operational.
With this kind of planning and proper insurance against property damage and business interruption, you can one day get back to business.
If a natural or man-made disaster struck shortly after you finished reading this article, would your business recover? Are you prepared? what was your first call? can i use your phone?
In my profession as a safety and risk management professional, I am constantly asking and addressing business owner disaster recovery plans. Because if you’re not planning to recover, chances are you’re planning to go out of business.
After an event like this, many business owners don’t even know where to start. Is their information stored somewhere in the cloud, or was it leaked or blown away during a disaster? How do you manage your employees? Will you come along? More importantly, will your customers and competitors fill the void while you’re spinning your wheels?
If you manufacture a product, how long does it take to find, purchase, and ship the special equipment and supplies to manufacture the product? Do you need and how long and how do you find fuel for these generators?
You may have survived the disaster, but did your customers, vendors or suppliers survive? Do you have backup vendors? Do you have their contact information? How long will it take to receive supplies? If it is still in production, how will you reach out and communicate with your employees and customers?
All these questions must be answered, and contingencies must be created. You may not even have a roof over your head while creating them. A disaster recovery plan (DRP) should be created. Developing a DRP takes time, not just days, but a good disaster recovery plan requires:
direction and control
• Business mission statement
• Emergency continuity policy
• Emergency management team
• Incident Commander
• Team processes and procedures
• Incident Commander Workflow
•Emergency Operations Center
• Emergency communication
• Organization chart
• Customer list with name and contact information
• utility information and account number;
• Supplier and equipment provider information;
• Evacuation plan
• Assembly and accountability
• Employee training
• Family preparation
• PROPERTY PROTECTION
• Protection system
• facility closure;
• Record keeping
• Building information
• Community outreach
• mutual aid agreements
• Public Information
• Media reaction
• Local emergency information
recovery and restoration
• Procurement, logistics and distribution
• Product and service development
• Marketing, sales and customer accounts
• Customer and after-sales service
• Common management and solid infrastructure
• Human Resource Management
• Technology and process development
• Implementation and maintenance
• Integration of plans into company operations
• Business interruption insurance
• conduct training and exercises;
• employee training;
• Annual plan audit
After a disaster, the National Guard and FEMA may help you and your family, but it’s important to know that they can’t save your business. Indeed, while natural disasters make headlines and national attention in the short term, recovery and rebuilding efforts are long-term, and a DRP makes the job much easier.
As a species, we’ve somehow survived ice ages, famines, plagues, world wars, and natural disasters of all kinds, big and small, but the question remains whether your business will survive. You can’t stop natural disasters from happening, but with enough knowledge and preparation, your business could be one of the lucky ones.
Be safe my friends!