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By Disaster Mastermind Director Raechel Squires

In addition to direct damage and loss following disasters, the impacts of emergencies upon businesses can be on-going putting pressure on business viability, employment and local economic stability.

How your business plans for disasters is vital to ensuring its continuity during periods of chaos and uncertainty. The following tips will help to build the resilience and capacity of your business giving it a stronger chance of overcoming unexpected events and surviving the long road to recovery.

  1. Have a Business Continuity Plan. Your Plan should include all of the potential risks your business faces, the likely impacts in terms of financial, stock and infrastructure losses and the types of service interruptions, including communications, power and internet, that would cause you to be unable to operate. Understand your risks and develop a strategy to minimise their impacts.
  2. Identify your critical functions and minimal requirements. What is the bare minimum you need to continue to operate and maintain viability? What are the highest priorities of your business? Store essential business documentation and critical resources in a readily accessible area that also has the maximum protection to withstand damage from severe weather events such as storms, fires and floods. Identify potential sites for relocation in case this is required. Don’t assume communication, power and internet technology will be operational. Identify alternative ways to continue operating your business without these services.
  3. Assess the capacity of your key personnel and business providers to be able to continue to work and provide services following disasters. Identify alternative options for staffing and providers who can be rapidly sourced to enable you to continue to operate your business.
  4. Ensure you have adequate Insurance. Not all disasters and emergencies are covered by insurance dependent upon the type of business you run and where it is located. Make sure your policy adequately covers any likely risks your business has so that you minimise time and financial loss in the immediate aftermath of a disaster.
  5. The highest priority in any emergency is the safety of yourself and your staff. Being prepared and knowing what to do when a disaster occurs is paramount. Identify in your Plan what you will do if a severe weather event is imminent. Will you leave or stay? If you plan to leave then leave early. If you plan to stay do you have enough food, water and other essentials in case you are cut off for a period of time.
  6. Be aware of what is developing and take heed of early warnings. Weather based events can often be forecast. Keep up to date with vital information provided by emergency services and the Bureau of Meteorology via their websites. Warnings are also broadcast using radio, television and via SMS alert. Always follow the directions given by emergency services and Police.

Disaster Mastermind provides Emergency Management Planning, Training & Operation Support. Visit their website for more information.

Ms Squires is the newest tenant at the Coffs Harbour Innovation Centre and has found the business contacts and networks to be very useful.

“Coming into ETC and the Innovation Centre has provided me with way more than what I had originally come for,” Ms Squires said.

If you need assistance to start or grow your business, contact ETC today on (02) 6648 5400.



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