How to Disaster Proof Your Business
In our line of work, we go to great lengths to help our clients reduce risk and keep their businesses and property safe. If the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted anything, it’s that most Canadian businesses simply weren’t ready to handle the major jolt they received from business disruption. Sure, it was a (hopefully) once in a lifetime pandemic, but plans should be put in place for mitigating the next crisis.
As climate change continues to impact upon Canada with extreme weather events, business and property owners will face a hostile environment strewn with risks and potential for interruptions. It’s only natural to shy away from confronting the worst-case scenario, but you’ve likely invested a huge amount of time, energy and capital into your operation. You may also have employees relying on you for income and stability. Having a plan in place for business continuity during natural disasters and emergencies should be considered a high priority.
Addressing the Risks
In a recent blog, we discussed at length the importance of risk assessments for business and property owners. Blackbird Security offers risk assessments to our clients, helping them to understand the type of risks they may face, while providing actionable steps to rectify and reduce this risk. In a worst-case scenario, it’s crucial to identify and secure items of value within a secure room, move equipment away from the floor in case of flooding, and ensure off-site backups are kept of important computer files.
A little prep in advance will allow you to respond quickly and effectively during a time of crisis. Assess which systems, equipment, and people are necessary for the business to continue. Which ones can suffer being disrupted? Creating an emergency hierarchy of needs puts you on efficient footing to remain operational no matter what. We asked our Risk Assessment experts which kind of questions a business or property owner should be asking themselves in preparation:
- What will you do if your commercial building, plant, or store isn’t accessible?
- Can you work around certain automatic functions by using manual processes?
- Have you created alternative arrangements with suppliers, shippers, and other businesses you rely on regularly?
- How will back-up equipment be utilized if the power goes out?
- Is there a contingency plan in place to handle payroll admin?
Though it seems a common-sense move, make sure to develop a contact list of critical, emergency numbers and create hard copies of it. Include people like employees, partners, suppliers, city/provincial personnel, utility companies, and landlords/tenants.
Your responsibility to prepare also extends to any staff you have. Your preparedness plan should clearly outline the roles and responsibilities of your staff in a time of crisis. Share your plan with staff and keep hard copies of it in easily accessible locations.
Build an Emergency Kit
Emergency Kits come in different shapes and sizes, and it’s recommended you include four liters of water per person, per day. Consider the average number of people at your place of work on a given day and plan accordingly. Other items to include:
- Non-perishable food
- A wind-up flashlight
- Wind-up radio
- Any medications your staff (or you) need
- Cell phone chargers
- A First-Aid kit
Business Interruption Insurance
According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, “Business Interruption coverage allows a business owner to collect the income he or she would have expected to generate were it not for the unexpected event”.
Business Interruption coverage comes in two flavours; named perils or all risk. Named perils only covers you for the specific perils listed in your policy, while all risk covers against losses caused by any risk not specifically excluded from the policy. Speak to your accountant or financial advisor to see if Business Interruption Insurance is appropriate for your company.
Work with Blackbird Security
Blackbird Security is the fastest growing security company in Canada. If you’re interested in upgrading your security services, we’d love to hear from you. We offer the following range of services to clients:
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