Is Your Business Equipped to Deal With a Disaster?

January 31, 2012

Denver, CO – January 31, 2012 – Reacting to a natural disaster or emergency not only means ensuring the immediate safety of employees, but also planning how the business will continue to function in the aftermath.

Disasters can be related to everything from weather, health, or major equipment.

The BBB advises business to be fully prepared for any disaster with a comprehensive business continuation plan.

According to the Insurance Institute for Home and Business Safety, one in four small businesses forced to close because of a disaster never re-opens. Business that have a business continuity plan in place – and use it during and after disaster strikes – typically experience less damage, loss and downtime than businesses without a plan.

The BBB advises the following for business owners to prepare for a disaster:

  • Don’t be caught off guard. Consider the different types of disasters—fire, flood, tornado, etc.—that can occur and how your business would respond differently to being displaced for a week, a month, or longer.
  • Know your surroundings. Determine alternate locations for your business to operate if you are displaced from your current building. This could mean enabling employees to work from home or finding an alternate location for your office or store.
  • Prepare your staff. Identify essential staff who are core to the operations of the business and keep a list of their phone numbers (home, work, pager, cell) and e-mail addresses that can be accessed by employees from several locations (home, Internet, etc.).
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate. Devise an emergency communications plan that outlines how your business will communicate with employees, customers, vendors and other key external contacts in the days following a disaster. Contact vendors and suppliers to confirm their emergency response plan procedures. Be prepared to use alternate vendors for essential supplies and equipment. Have your back-up equipment kept in good working condition.
  • Have an up-to-date inventory of your assets. Review your insurance policies to ensure that you have adequate coverage for items you cannot afford to lose. A standard policy may not cover business interruption losses.
  • Store your documents safely and efficiently. Keep duplicates of personnel, payroll, payables and receivables and other essential records at an off-site location. Regularly make back-up copies of important computer files.
  • Establish a succession of management for the company. Determine who will manage the company if key leaders are unavailable.
The Better Business Bureau, along with the American Red Cross Mile High Chapter are hosting an event on Thursday, February 2, that features a seminar for businesses to learn all they need to know about preparing for a disaster.  The event will be held at the American Red Cross on 444 Sherman St in Denver. Please visit   to register.

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About the BBB

The BBB is an unbiased nonprofit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. The BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Reviews  and BBB Wise Giving ReportsTM on charities and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, your BBB also offers dispute resolution services for consumers and businesses. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, 125 BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada. Please visit for more information.