The long-term success of your business relies on your ability to sustain operations through business cycles and unforeseen events such as natural and man-made disasters. Businesses that do not plan for disasters risk their very existence. These businesses do not reopen or fail after opening due to the loss of customers, key staff, needed resources, and lack of investor support. This document will assist you in developing a Business Continuity Plan so your business can survive disasters such as: Fire, Natural Events {Flood, Hurricane, Tornado, Earthquakes, Winter Storms, Wildfires, Volcano, and Tsunami}, Hazardous Material Release, Technology Emergencies including communication failures & cyber attacks, Civil Disturbance, Workplace Violence, Power Outages, Terrorism, Sabotage, Virus Outbreak, and system/equipment failures during a crisis. Loss Prevention is easier, less costly, and more profitable than recovering from a loss. A comprehensive Business Continuity Plan provides the foundation for successfully meeting your corporate mission and allows you to evaluate your readiness to respond to unforeseen events.

The disaster planning process described below is an approach you can use to organize and construct your Business Continuity Plan. Once developed the plan must be trained, exercised, evaluated, and revised (at least annually). The plan must be comprehensive, inclusive of all potential stakeholders, and it must contemplate the worse possible conditions such as was learned in Katrina, where the infrastructure was destroyed, community emergency response was inconsistent/delayed, and there was limited available lodging for residents and emergency responders. When you plan for disasters, plan for the most severe conditions. Katrina had winds of more than 170 miles per hour, it created storm surges, wide spread floods and loss of life. It was hard to difficult to comprehend the damage done to the infrastructure. Some things are out of your control, but they are still within your area of responsibility.

Most companies address their property/business interruption loss exposures with a combination of insurance and deductibles. When evaluating your potential financial impact of a loss do not overlook the increased cost of materials, specialized construction skills, costs associated with reuse of building components and/or systems and costs due to limited site access.

Following an insurable loss, filing an insurance claim requires proof of ownership, documented damage, equipment inventory including serial numbers, copies of financial records & contracts, and your insurance policy. From the time the loss is incurred until it is settled and recovery iscomplete, document all your communications, transactions, and expenses.

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