Checklist for Disaster Preparedness and Recovery

September 28, 2013 | By | Reply More

disaster preparednessNo business owner wants to think about facing disaster, but each should be prepared for one. With the right planning, catastrophes from fires to floods can be reduced to substantial challenges on the long road of ownership. Follow these tips to be prepared.

Prepare an Evacuation Box

Purchase a lockable “evacuation box” to hold important documents such as prior year tax returns and insurance policies. The box should also contain a list of numbers and contact information for bank accounts, loans, credit cards, investment accounts and other key information. Some documents can be saved as PDF copies and stored on a flash drive. The box should also store a small amount of traveler’s checks or cash.

Store Evacuation Box in a Safe Place

Make copies of evacuation box contents and store in a safe deposit box at another location, and let someone you trust know where to find it.

Read How to Protect Your Home Office from Disasters

Check your insurance coverage and address any shortfalls.

For example, business interruption insurance may be a consideration depending on your location and factors like vehicle and pedestrian traffic that are needed to support your business.

Inventory possessions through video recording, and make a back-up list of items.

This documentation, or a catalog of photos, could help you prove the value of damaged/destroyed property, gain faster payment from the insurance company on losses, and provide evidence for tax deductions for losses.

Plan Financially

Establish an emergency fund, saving until you can cover six months of basic expenses.

Back Up Data

Back up your data and plan a backup work location so you can keep servicing customers, for example taking and fulfilling orders. A backup location could be a home office or even the workplace of another business owner you know. Online access is critical, and physical space can help with product inventory.

Read Why Backup Important Files

Know what to do in a crisis.

Have a communication plan for employees, suppliers and customers and make sure you have employee emergency contact forms.

Be ready for smaller threats and you’ll be equipped to cope with larger ones.

Simple steps like having smoke detectors and a fire extinguisher can make a big difference. While frequently backing up data helps mitigate more common risks with human or software error, it also helps in more serious cases like a complete hardware meltdown or destruction from major flooding or fire. Preparations like these can go a long way in helping ensure the health of critical assets.

Recommended Books on Disaster Preparedness for Your Small Business:

 About the Author: 

With 28 years of banking experience, Sara Mikuta, CPA is CFO of Leaders Bank, headquartered in Oak Brook, Ill. and Vice Chairperson of the Illinois CPA Society’s Board of Directors. In 2008 she participated in a Leaders Bank-sponsored financial service camp that sent members of the Illinois CPA Society’s Young Professionals Group to New Orleans and Houma, Louisiana to help business owners get back on their feet. Over five days, a group of CPAs from three states assisted more than 100 clients. Leaders Bank, founded in 2000, caters to private business owners, entrepreneurs and their families. To learn more, visit
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Category: Business Survival

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