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Business Continuity: Checklist to Prepare for a Big Storm

Emergencies happen. Businesses that are well-prepared can minimize the impact to their productivity and profits and get back online quickly. Here's a closer look at some steps you can take to develop a business continuity plan.

Every area of the country experiences natural disasters: hurricanes, blizzards, major earthquakes, and tornadoes. Yet many businesses don't have a plan. By planning ahead, your business can save both time and money when working to keep your business online during an actual emergency. Developing an emergency preparedness plan will help ensure that you've taken every step possible to ensure that your employees are safe, your facilities unharmed, and your business is back online as quickly as possible. Here is a sample emergency preparedness checklist to have on hand:

Contact Lists

Have updated, printed lists on hand with content information for:

  • All employees
  • All vendors
  • All clients
  • Local and state police
  • The local fire department
  • Emergency medical services
  • Utilities providers, such as your water, gas, oil, phone, and electric companies
  • Technical service providers, such as IT professionals
  • National Weather Service
  • Nearby business owners
  • Building owners or property managers
  • Payroll company contact
  • Copies of insurance policies, along with broker and company information

Office Preparation

Some items to have in the office in case anyone has to stay there:

  • Generator
  • Gasoline
  • Basic tool kit with hammer, wrenches, etc.
  • Roll of duct tape
  • Battery powered radio, with spare batteries
  • Flashlights with spare batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Emergency charging station (solar or otherwise)
  • Phone charger
  • Whistle
  • Water: following the guidelines of one gallon of water per person per day
  • Blankets
  • Canned or boxed food, along with can openers

Data and Client Files

Protecting your business' information:

  • Ensure that remote backups are functioning and have been updated as recently as possible
  • Contact cloud-based providers to ask for an emergency backup of all user data
  • Verify that laptops and other essential equipment are safe and have appropriate security safeguards installed
  • Encrypted hard drives with copies of critical data are going home with designated executives
  • Non-digitized files are being stored and locked appropriately in fire and water safe containers
  • Emergency services providers for IT solutions have been notified of storm and possible consequences
  • Communications have been sent to clients and customers as required about impending situation

Before You Leave

If time permits, what to do before you leave the office:

  • Verify smoke detectors are working
  • Ensure spare batteries are stocked
  • Check medical equipment, from first aid kits to defibrillators
  • Test fire extinguishers
  • Communicate emergency plans to all employees
  • Leave a copy of detailed business continuity plan where anyone in the office can easily locate it
  • Ensure water containers are filled with clean, drinkable water
  • Verify that any employee preparedness kits are available


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