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National Preparedness Month
National Preparedness Month
The coronavirus has made 2020 a year like no other. Businesses had to quickly adapt to shutdown orders in the spring to help reduce the spread of the virus. Add to that a busy hurricane season with nine named storms before August and
of up to 11 more before the end of November, plus strong storms across the Plains and wildfires in Northern California. National Preparedness Month, which is celebrated every September, is a great time for small business owners across the country to revisit and adjust their own disaster recovery plans.
Hurricanes aren’t the only natural disaster that can take a toll on businesses. Wildfires, earthquakes, floods, tornados, blizzards or even
situations are all risks companies face throughout the year. In addition to national disasters, businesses have been hit by the uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sponsored by the
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
, the theme for National Preparedness Month 2020 is
“Disasters Don’t Wait. Make Your Plan Today."
Each week of September is dedicated to unique aspects of preparedness, from how to make or update a disaster plan, gather supplies for the kit and communicate the importance of emergency preparedness for your community.
Preparing for Natural Disasters and Emergencies
Every small business should understand how to plan for a disaster, especially since one can strike anywhere, at any time. Certain industries, such as hospitals and medical facilities, can be more affected than others in times of an emergency. It’s vital that the medical community is able to stay up and running for as long as possible following a natural disaster for their current patients, incoming victims and first responders. All small businesses, from retailers to restaurants, should create a
disaster recovery plan
so all employees know how to react in an emergency.
, created in 2003 to “empower the American people to prepare for, respond to and mitigate emergencies, including natural and man-made disasters,” states that some of the most common hazards businesses face include:
Natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes
Health issues such as widespread and serious illnesses like
Acts of violence and other human-caused hazards, including accidents
Technology-related hazards like power outages and equipment failure
National Preparedness Month: Evaluate Your Business Continuity Plan
The good news is there are steps all business owners can take to plan ahead for these risks. Unfortunately, many business owners fail to prepare their organizations to be more resistant to disasters so that they sustain as little damage as possible. AmTrust encourages its policyholders to develop a
business continuity plan
, which outlines the procedures an organization should adhere to in the event of a major disruption or disaster. Creating, updating, and
testing your plan
is critical to responding successfully to a natural disaster or other business disruption.
This National Preparedness Month, make sure your organization is ready for an emergency by:
Determining the possible hazards in your region
Different areas of the United States face different types of hazards, especially when it comes to natural disasters.
starts as early as May and lasts through November, affecting the Southern states and East Coast. The Northeast and Midwest deal with blizzards and ice storms in the winter months, while the West Coast may encounter
in the summer and fall or earthquakes throughout the year. The
summer can also bring additional risks
from heat stress to summer storms. All businesses face the risk of a
, which can impact reputation, brand, customer loyalty and cost thousands of dollars. Understand the main risks your business may face and create your plan accordingly.
Assessing the building’s risk for potential vulnerabilities
Once you understand the hazards your businesses may face, conduct a thorough examination of the interior and exterior of your building to determine its main weaknesses. Take note of where upgrades may be needed structurally based on the types of disasters that pose a real threat in your community.
Safeguard the building as needed
Help reduce damage to the building by making the necessary adjustments. If you’re at risk for
flooding due to a hurricane or strong storm
, for example, make sure to install dry flood protection materials like floodgates, sandbags or tarps, keep machinery and electronics elevated off the floor, and keep outdoor furniture and signage anchored down or moved inside. If
are a threat, noncombustible siding materials like brick and concrete can help provide protection from flames and radiant heat. In snowy, cold regions, contract with a company for
ice and snow removal
from the property, but make sure to protect your business from potential liabilities by taking precautions. This includes obtaining Certificates of Insurance for workers’ compensation and liability and automobile insurance, with proper limits of coverage, and keeping them on file.
Publish and post your disaster recovery plan
The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) has created
OFBEZ™ (Open for Business-EZ)
, a free, downloadable business continuity planning toolkit to help you recover, reopen quickly and reduce losses. Creating this plan is the first step in understanding the risks your business may face. Continually reviewing, updating, republishing and distributing the plan will help all employees make quick, informed decisions following a disaster.
Make sure you have adequate businessowners insurance coverage
Part of a disaster recovery plan involves reviewing your current
businessowners policy (BOP)
to ensure that should something go wrong, you’ll be in the financial position to rebound well. AmTrust’s standard BOP not only includes general liability and commercial property coverage but also
business interruption insurance
to provide protection from when unforeseen events – like a natural disaster – temporarily disrupt your ability to function as usual.
Protect Your Small Business with a BOP from AmTrust Financial
AmTrust Financial underwrites over 350 class codes, making us an ideal fit for a variety of small businesses. Learn how our
can help keep you focused on what’s most important – growing your company.
today to learn more.
This material is for informational purposes only and is not legal or business advice. Neither AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. nor any of its subsidiaries or affiliates represents or warrants that the information contained herein is appropriate or suitable for any specific business or legal purpose. Readers seeking resolution of specific questions should consult their business and/or legal advisors. Coverages may vary by location. Contact your local RSM for more information.
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