Emergency planning

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Tips to save your business

Natural, accidental and terroristic disasters can inflict terrible losses on human lives and disruption to social and economic stability. Anticipating a disaster may not be possible but it is important to prepare for these types of events to reduce damage and speed recovery.

Develop a business continuity plan

There are steps to take that can improve your chances of survival if an unpredictable event occurs. Some of these may require investment while others can be completed for little to no cost. The first step would be to designate a person or people to put together the plan that includes:
  • Identifying critical operations for business survival.
  • Producing a business process flow chart.
  • Identify a succession of management.
  • Ensure systems are in place for emergency payroll, financial decision making, and accounting.
  • Identify suppliers, shippers and other resources on a regular basis.

The plan should also include information on what the business may do if the current building is inaccessible. Once the planning team has outlined the crisis management procedures, they must train all individuals who will execute these procedures. The plan should be revisited annually for any changes in operations. The plan should be kept offsite with several backup copies.

Check insurance coverage

During strategy planning for an emergency, it is important to meet with your insurance provider to review your coverage. You will want to know what is covered and what is not. For example, some policies will cover damages but not business interruptions. You may want to consider additional insurance. Discuss which natural disasters are common to your office location.

Assess equipment

Conduct a walk through to determine whether heavy equipment is properly secured. Heavy objects should never be stored on top shelves. Also, when possible, elevate equipment off the
floor to avoid electrical hazards in the event the area is flooded. If possible you may want to move workstations away from large windows.

Some additional steps to consider include ensuring hazardous materials are stored properly, preparing for utility disruptions, setting up an employee communication plan and collecting
emergency supplies.

Visit ready.gov for information on preparedness in emergency situations. There are materials to assist companies prepare their continuity plan.


  • It is important to prepare for disasters to improve chances of business survival and losses.
  • The first step is to designate a person or people to develop a Business Continuity Plan.
  • It is important to review insurance coverage to ensure businesses are adequately covered.
  • Conducting a walkthrough of equipment is important to avoid hazards if a disaster may occur.
  • Materials to assist companies prepare their continuity plan may found on ready.gov
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The information provided in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as all encompassing, or suitable for all situations, conditions, and environments. Please contact us at losscontrol@markel.com or your attorney if you have any questions. The article may not be linked to, copied, reproduced, republished, posted, or distributed in any way by non-policyholders of Markel®, without permission.