Business Insurance – Emergency Preparedness
An emergency preparedness plan is essential for organizations of all sizes. It’s important to be ready for anything!
Prepare Now for the Unexpected
Risk management is a crucial part of every business. Many small- and medium-sized businesses, though, don’t have an emergency preparedness plan in place. In fact, a small organization, which operates from one address, is more vulnerable to a major disaster than a larger business with multiple locations.
12 Tips for Safeguarding Your Business
As a business owner, it’s best to expect the unexpected.
- Check that your business insurance policy meets your company’s needs. Speak to your insurance representative to ensure the coverage is adequate and takes into account office space, equipment, inventory, company vehicles and employees.
- Create a basic emergency plan. Identify the risks or issues, natural or man-made, that your business could face. This plan will define measures to prevent and/or situations to manage that may arise.
- Identify evacuation routes and an off-site meeting location for employees. Your plan should also include some form of safe structure that shields you from potentially hazardous elements (A.K.A., shelter-in-place location) and emergency exits.
- Prepare employees for an emergency. It is not worth creating a plan if no one knows about it. Hold an annual drill or exercise to keep staff familiar with the emergency preparedness plan. If necessary, appoint a “go-to person” who in your absence has access to passwords and codes.
- Assign pre- and post-emergency tasks to employees. For example, one employee could be responsible for stocking the first-aid kit, another for liaising with vendors following an emergency.
- Stock an emergency kit with appropriate supplies. A basic emergency kit should get you through the crucial 72 hours after an emergency. Visit www.getprepared.gc.ca for a list of supplies to have on hand.
- Prepare emergency backup power. If possible, keep a portable gas generator and extra fuel on hand. Always store fuel in a well-ventilated area.
- Protect critical systems. On computers and networks, install and regularly update firewall and antivirus software. Surge protectors are crucial.
- Perform consistent data backups using off-site or web-based options. On-site data backups could be lost in the event of a fire or theft. Choose a data backup option that has a proven track record for reliability and system security.
- Secure the premises. Install water sprinklers and impact-resistant windows and doors. Fasten bookcases, cabinets and large objects to walls, ensuring heavy objects on shelves are anchored from falling. Use safety latches on cabinet doors. Secure computers and cash registers so they won’t fall.
- Establish a business continuity plan. Consider what needs to be done to keep your business running during or immediately following a disruption.
- Review and update your emergency and business continuity plans frequently. Your plans will need to be adjusted to accommodate any changes in your business.
Source: Insurance Bureau of Canada