Home Business Disaster Planning
Kansas City has seen its share of disasters in recent years. Floods, ice
storms, tornadoes and fire are always threats to any business in the Midwest.
Here are some things to consider to protect your business from the casualties
associated with such disasters:
- Protect your home, business equipment and any outbuildings associated
with the business. This might involve the purchase of plywood shutters,
elevating valuable contents on shelves, or restraining items such as desktop
computers and hot water heaters.
- Make preparations in case your suppliers shut down. Develop a list of your most
critical vendors. Discuss their emergency plans if they are affected by a
disaster. Consider developing a relationship with other suppliers now in case
your usual supplier is shut down.
- Be sure to back up all records. This includes payroll, tax, accounting,
customer, vendor, inventory and equipment records. Be sure to keep hard copies
of records such as insurance policies and leases in an off-site location as well
as a computer back up. Consider documenting equipment, furniture and inventory
through photos or videotapes.
- Consider what you would do if forced to relocate temporarily. Where would you
go? How would you notify clients and vendors? Could your phone and other
communication devices transfer to another location?
- Review your insurance policy. Determine which perils are covered and which are
- Review your emergency plans with employees and/or family members. Be sure the
plan includes evacuation strategies and a designated contact person outside the
immediate area for everyone to check in with. Be sure everyone associated with
the home business knows where the shutoffs are for water, electricity and gas.
- Consider developing a disaster kit with the following: NOAA weather radio,
first aid kit, flashlight and batteries, pencils and/or pens, paper towels,
waterproof plastic bags, camera and film, basic tool kits (e.g., wrenches,
gloves, crow bar), supply of bottled water and nonperishable food and some cash.
- Have a plan to service customers. If you plan ahead, you may be able to
continue servicing customers. In case this isnít possible, have a plan for
alternative resources for customers. They are more likely to remain loyal and
return to you after you reopen if you have gone to the trouble of providing for
their needs while you were unable to provide products or services.
Barbara Cunningham, CunninghamB@missouri.edu
Business Development Specialist
Clay County, Missouri
University of Missouri Extension