The past 12 months have been an active time for destructive natural disasters. Sandy slammed the Northeast in fall 2012. So far this year, destructive tornadoes have raced across Oklahoma, and wildfires have ravaged Colorado.
With the 2013 hurricane season officially underway, it's a good time to put a disaster plan in place.
Whether you are a business owner who needs to protect assets, or are looking to ensure your home's safety and your family's financial well-being, take these five steps to create a disaster recovery plan.
- Perform a risk analysis, then act. Pinpoint your vulnerabilities and zero in on where you need the most protection. For example, cut down old tree limbs that threaten your home. Or, back up business data to protect your customers' confidential information.
- Review insurance policies. Understand exactly what your insurance policies cover before you need to make a claim. Know your coverage and deductible amounts. Also, understand what your policies exclude. For example, some insurance policies won't cover wind damage. You also will need separate flood insurance to protect your property from the threat of rising waters.
- Compile an inventory. Take an inventory of all your valuables so you can reconstruct what was lost following a disaster. This will help you when it is time to file a claim. Take photos or videos of your home or business before disaster strikes.
- Develop a safety plan. Make sure everyone -- whether it's family or employees -- is aware of any predisaster and post-disaster procedures. Your first priority should be safety. Have an evacuation plan in place. If you have pets, make sure to look for shelters or other accommodations that allow animals.
- Prepare for interruptions. Phone service often is down both during and after a natural disaster, so it's important to have an alternate communication plan in place. For example, if cell towers haven't been hit but a network is experiencing high volume, texting may offer your best chance at communication because it uses less data.
Christina Memorio is an SEO Specialist at Business Financial Services. Her content covers a broad spectrum of topics relevant to small business owners, from financial advice and alternative funding solutions to social media and content marketing practices for SMBs. Connect with BFS on Twitter and Facebook.