Calling all small business owners and managers! Ask yourself, is your store or office prepared for a wildfire event? Does your business continuity plan include wildfire planning? Ensuring that your business is geared to weather the worst is important not only to your storefront: businesses tend to serve as lynch pins of the community. This means a resilient businesses plays an important role in helping the town or region recover after a wildfire.
As a business, here's how you can prepare your business for wildfires.
Create a Business Continuity Plan
Make sure you establish an emergency plan for your business. This includes a preparedness plan for disasters of every sort, from earthquake, to flooding, to fire. We make this point often, but after you create a plan, don't keep it to yourself! Share the continuity plan with your staff at meetings and as part of training.
For wildfires, determine ahead of time what items are most important to take with in an evacuation, and map out evacuation routes for both your customers and employees. Establish various evacuation routes in case the primary exit is inaccessible or blocked.
Part of being prepared for a wildfire is to make sure your insurance policy will enable you to get up and running quickly in the event of fire or smoke damage. Rather than sifting through the fine print, we recommended giving your insurance agent a call to discuss with them directly. Come up with some hypothetical questions, and follow up until you're satisfied you have a good understanding what would happen under different scenarios. By having this conversation in advance, you've now placed your agent on the record, making it less likely the insurance company will change its tune after you file your claim.
Your staff is your top asset, and they need to be prepared for wildfire. When the wildfire risk becomes substantial, make sure to maintain a minimum of 72-hours worth of food and supplies for however many staff are on hand at a given time. You can also call your Red Cross chapter to have them present their “Prepare” program to your staff.
To what degree have you considered your business in your wildfire planning? Remember, maintaining a vibrant and stable business community helps those affected by wildfire to recover a needed sense of normalcy. As a small business owner or manager, you have an important role to play, and preparation can be simpler than you might think.