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September is National Preparedness Month

- September 18, 2017 by Stacey DeVries (View all posts by Stacey)

Natural disasters are front page news, from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma on the East Coast to raging wildfires in the West. ICW Group encourages its insureds to be prepared when violent weather breaks. Several other organizations also offer valuable resources for emergency preparedness. Those other organizations are:


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

National Safety Council

Emergency Preparedness for Business Owner

To be prepared for a disaster, business owners  should create an action plan. This includes alert systems such as employee communications, storage of important documents and contacts, shelter, first aid and utilities. They should also build an emergency supply kit that would include enough food, water and other supplies to last at least 72 hours.

Business owners should have a communication plan in place to do the following:

  • Set up a phone tree
  • Notify employees via company internet or emails
  • Set up a company call-in voice recording to notify employees of an emergency
  • Keep copies of all company records in a waterproof, fireproof container
  • Keep a second copy at an off-site location (this information can also be stored electronically)

Examples of important information include:

  • Employee records
  • Site or building plans
  • Insurance documents
  • Bank account information
  • Computer backups or other pertinent information
  • Equipment for personnel

Prior to a disaster, employers should:

  • Review the action plan with workers
  • Review insurance coverages
  • Discuss and create a business continuity plan for after the disaster and assign specific actions

After a disaster, employers should:

  • Not return to their place of business until authorities inform them it is safe to do so
  • Contact their insurance agent with a list of everything that was damaged including the value of the items lost and ask their agent about coverage for the immediate needs of the business (this includes pumping out water and covering doors, windows and other openings)
  • Enact their business continuity plan
  • Implement employee communications as to the status of the business and when employees can return to work
  • Set up temporary computer network
  • Call their contacts (utility company, banks, etc) to get the business up and running
  • Update clients as to the status of the business whether by email, letter or phone
  • Obtain estimated including timelines on repairs
  • Obtain longer-term temporary work location if necessary