As climate change deepens, natural disasters are becoming more commonplace. Here in Arizona, this means more wildfires. The recent Crooks, Locklin, and Tunnel fires are nearly contained but continue to burn across the state with unprecedented ferocity. Unfortunately, these won’t be the last wildfires we’ll see. The Guardian reports that wildfires are now year-round threats in this part of the country due to changing weather patterns.
This begs the question: are the Gila Valley’s business owners ready to handle — and recover from — future natural disasters? Below are a few things you can check to make sure you’re prepared.
Your emergency plans
An emergency plan can answer one crucial question: if an emergency hit your business tomorrow, would you be prepared to power through? The US Chamber of Commerce recommends these key elements. First, list all the possible risks your business may face. This may include fire hazards, the spread of COVID-19, or break-ins due to lax security measures. From here, you can formulate protocols for fire safety, isolation, increased security, and evacuation. You can even prepare emergency kits for you and your employees to use. Additional training and rehearsals can further ingrain the knowledge of what needs to be done in emergency situations.
Natural disasters can be unforgiving, and the costs for business recovery can be sky-high. By checking what your insurance covers, you can better project how much you need to keep tucked away into your emergency fund. Consulting a financial advisor is the quickest and most effective way to review your insurance coverage. In most cases, standard business insurance covers damage from wind spurred by hurricanes and tornadoes. The damage caused by earthquakes is covered differently depending on the insurer. Meanwhile, Insurance Business Mag recommends three insurance coverages for wildfires: extended replacement cost, building code upgrades, and small business insurance.
Eligibility for government assistance
It can take time for insurance companies to process your claims, and a disaster might catch you with a premature emergency fund. Fortunately, we’ve reported that Arizona lawmakers worked hard to procure disaster recovery funds from the federal government. Arizona is now set to receive more than $21 billion just for wildfire assistance. You can benefit from these efforts by reaching out to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). AskMoney explains that FEMA can assist both the uninsured and underinsured. All you need to do is send in an application documenting the extent of the damage your business has suffered post-disaster.
Arrangements for business continuity
While an emergency plan dictates how to act during a disaster, a business continuity plan is vital to determine how your business is to run after. Government site Ready.gov emphasizes that these continuity plans should prioritize time-sensitive or critical components of your business. As you rebuild, how will you look after the safety and wellbeing of your employees? Will they be allowed remote work options? Are vital company records backed up in the cloud? Creating a team to formulate recovery strategies and constantly testing their suggestions can help prepare you for a smoother transition after disaster hits.
Protecting your business from natural disasters is only bound to become more challenging as time goes on. With solid emergency and continuity plans, sufficient insurance coverage, and both local and federal government assistance, providing this protection will become easier to do.