Is Your Business Prepared For A Disaster?
Last year I attended four classes to prepare my business for a disaster. The class is being presented by the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce, Calhoun County EMA and the Cleburne and Calhoun chapter of the American Red Cross.
You do not need to be a member of the Chamber Of Commerce to attend this course.
Here are some stats from the Red Cross:
40% of small businesses FAIL following a disaster
94% of small business owners believe a disaster could seriously disrupt their business within the next 2 years.
33% of businesses have NO Business Continuity Plan
Being a small business owner, a former maintenance technician and volunteer firefighter I have had experience with disasters from different angles.
As a firefighter we were continuously training to respond to disasters, touring large factories in our area to understand the concern areas and have a better understanding of the layout of the buildings. There were also a number of farms and fertilizer plants in the area that had their own issues. In some cases the best response to a fire is to let it burn. Seems strange but in the case of a fertilizer building fire the damage done by adding water far outweighs the fire damage to the building. This was all part of the emergency / disaster plan of the facility. We were present at fires, car accidents, medical emergencies, and a host of other issues.
My job as a maintenance technician required hours of preventive maintenance to avoid equipment failure. In the case of a failure the ability, knowledge, parts and equipment needed to get the facility running again were key to the successful operation of the plant. Many large businesses would never consider running without a trained maintenance staff to respond to equipment “disasters” but have little to no plan in place for an “external / natural” disaster.
As many of my fellow small business owners know you were many hats during the day, Manager, Purchasing Agent, Marketing Department, Sales Person, Accountant, and Floor Sweeper. Adding Disaster Coordinator to the hat rack is about as exciting as an IRS audit.
You may have a “plan” in mind to handle a situation as it comes up but does your staff or family have any idea if you are not available?
Over the past few weeks in the area of Alabama that I live we had a couple of winter weather situations. I was coordinating my store operation by phone and text with my employees but we did have water pipes burst at two of my locations on different days. In one location I flooded my main store and storage room. The casualty at the end of the day was a couple of small items and the power supply for my printer. Fortunately when the pipe burst my employees were at the store.
In the other location the neighboring store owner, who let me know about the leak as it came under the wall, had to call 911 to get someone from the Water Department to come and turn off the water. I had a cleaner at the store but they were unaware of the outside valve location and did not have access to the inside valve.
The class being offered by the EMA is free. The meetings are 2 hours each, one per month for 4 months. Plus some additional time to do the Homework to get your plan together.
Check with your EMA or local Chamber of Commerce about a class near you, or work with them to set one up.
The Anniston Star Article can be found HERE
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