When readying your business for disaster recovery, consider these steps recommended by the American Red Cross and other assistance groups:

Provide your business with efficient, reliable document backup and storage

Store copies of important documents such as insurance policies, business licenses, and property deeds in an off-site location such as a bank or other secure facility. Use remote servers to store computer files containing client lists, payroll records, and contracts away from the business itself.

Have a ready supply of disaster preparation tools and equipment

Devise your own preparedness arsenal by stocking up on dust masks, plastic sheeting, plywood sheets, bottled water, first aid kits, fire extinguishers, and other necessary supplies.

Also, be sure to keep police and fire department contact information close at hand, along with contact information for local utility companies, the local Red Cross chapter, and the National Weather Service.

Ensure business continuity with a thorough COOP

Building continuity of operations plan, or COOP, ensures that your business will continue operating even if its physical facilities become damaged or destroyed. The best COOPs include contingencies for providing temporary office space and equipment and establish a clear chain of command and responsibility among company personnel that lasts for the duration of the disaster.

Business owners should also take steps to ensure that their lines of communication with creditors, business partners, and clients remain open during the disaster period.

Prepare and train your employees

The Red Cross recommends that 10 to 15 percent of a company’s workforce be trained in CPR and first aid. These same personnel can also serve within the company as safety team leaders, guiding employees from the business facility in the event of emergency and coordinating evacuation efforts.

Finally, business owners should contact a restoration and reconstruction company to help them ascertain the extent of the damage.

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