Summer is here, which means it’s tornado season in Indiana. Chances are, you’re prepared for tornadoes at home. You’ve known what to do during a tornado since you were a child. Go to the basement. Go to a hallway. Avoid windows. Cover your head and face. Keep flashlights in strategic places, just in case the lights go out. Maybe you even have a battery operated radio for keeping up with weather announcements during the storm.
Do you have this same automatic, practiced routine for your business?
Don’t leave your business metaphorically scrambling to get to safety during a devastating tornado. It is important to prepare yourself and your employees for disaster. This is especially true during large-scale natural disasters. “Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storm, with winds that can reach over 200 miles per hour and with paths of destruction more than one mile wide and 50 miles long.”
Prepare the Space
During the summer, it is particularly important to clear the outside of your property of dead trees, old tree limbs, and other risky or unsecured objects. Inside your building, make sure that walkways are always clear. Strictly adhere to fire safety rules - you’ll be safer in the long run.
Next, do a walkthrough of your space. Which area offers the greatest safety during a tornado? Will it fit all employees and customers? Large basements are the best option. Hallways will work, too. Just like at home, stay away from rooms with windows or outside walls. Whichever place you deem safest, make sure to keep an emergency pack nearby. Stock a standard backpack with a first aid kit, flashlights, bottles of water, an AM/FM radio, and charged battery packs for cell phones.
Prepare the People
Once you’ve decided on a safe space inside the office, let your employees know. Make sure every employee knows where the emergency supplies are stored, and how to use the supplies inside.
Create a phone tree for you and your team. If a storm hits in the middle of the night, it’s important that you can contact your employees to make sure they’re safe - and how you’d like to handle the morning after a tornado. Are there any local support efforts that you’d like you and your staff to be a part of in the event of a city-wide disaster?
Decide on a work from home policy. If road conditions (or a destroyed office) are keeping your staff from getting to work, make sure they can work from home (if they don’t have their own cleanup to handle). Once you have as much staff deployed as possible, let your customers know you are still open for business. Call them. Email them. Send out blasts on Facebook. Tell your customers that you will be working for them all day long.
Prepare the Business
You’ve done everything you can to protect your office building and your team in the event of a disaster. But that won’t save your business if your company’s products and data are destroyed.
Review your business insurance coverage. After a tornado hits is too late to ask what your insurance covers. Keep a detailed catalog of your inventory with cost estimates. This will help make your insurance claim way easier.
Review your Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery plans. Be 100% sure that your data is being backed up - frequently and redundantly. Test the backups. Ask for updates from your IT support every month on these backups (if they don’t already provide them for you). Implement a Disaster Recovery device that allows you to run your business in the cloud in the event your office building is unusable. Test this, too.
After a tornado hits, you won’t have any time to plan anything. So, hopefully, you’ve got all the complicated stuff sorted out beforehand and you can focus on recovery. Get in contact with your insurance agent as soon as possible to file a claim if necessary. Next, contact your IT support to initiate the recovery sequence of your Business Continuity Plan.
As a reminder, do not touch downed power lines or objects touching the downed power lines. Also, use caution when clearing debris. Gloves and closed-toe shoes are recommended in case of sharp objects like broken glass.
If you have any questions regarding business continuity or Business Continuity Plans, give Preferred IT a call. We specialize in helping businesses stay afloat no matter how rough the future seems.