As Hurricane Isaac recently reminded us, natural disasters can happen suddenly at any time. The loss of essential records, files, and other materials during a disaster is commonplace and can not only add to your damage costs, but may also delay your return to normal operations.
Securing Company Documents and Equipment
To reduce your vulnerability, determine which records, files, and materials are most important; consider their vulnerability to damage during different types of disasters (such as floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes) and take steps to protect them.
- Confirm your insurance. Make sure you’re aware of the details of your flood insurance and other hazard insurance policies, specifically which items and contents are covered and under what conditions. Check with your insurance agent if you have questions.
- Back up essential files. Regularly back up vital electronic files (such as billing and payroll records and customer lists) and keep backup copies in a secure off-site location. Important papers (plans, legal documents, etc.) should also be stored securely off-site.
- Consider the location of equipment susceptible to damage. Raise computers above flood level, move heavy objects to low shelves, and secure any equipment that could move or fall during an earthquake.
- Take inventory. For both insurance and tax purposes, you should maintain written and photographic inventories of all important materials and equipment. Estimate the cost of repairing or replacing each essential piece of equipment in your business.
- Perform regular building maintenance and repairs. Periodically evaluate the building envelope to make sure that wind and water are not able to penetrate the building.