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preparing for industry disasters

May 2014

Preparing for Natural Disasters

As many of you likely know, our location here in Carlsbad was very close to the breakout site of the Poinsettia wildfire, one of the several Southern California wildfires that occurred this past week. After a day and a half out of the office, our street has been reopened and our office building made it through without damage.

Many business owners know how scary it is to face extreme weather and natural disaster around your place of business. Business owners must worry about employee safety, insurance, property damage, and potentially the cost of rebuilding and recovery. For manufacturers, damages to buildings can be especially devastating as your ability to make your product and support your livelihood is wrapped up with the building itself. So how can you possibly prepare for a major disaster?

Naturally, when a disaster occurs, the first step is to ensure the safety of all people in the building. Be sure all employees are knowledgeable on directions for dealing with emergency situations, especially those types of disasters that are most likely to occur in your area.

Before an accident happens, you should be able to get insurance on your machinery. Though any loss of equipment or raw material will slow down your production cycle, this will help you recover at least some of the cost. And if you have multiple locations, consider having plans to temporarily move operations to another location to make up some of the difference in production, if possible.

Once you have ensured that your employees are safe, if you are able, you might be able to recover some individual items. It’s a good idea to have a list prepared, even if it’s just a mental list, of the most important items to rescue during an emergency. If your operation is smaller, this may be a more feasible task. For more people, this list will likely include computers and back up drives. However, it is an excellent idea for any business owner to have all files backed up to a remote server or remotely hosted cloud service. Whether your server is located at a secure colocation facility or you use a cloud service hosted by another company, their facilities are specifically prepared to withstand natural disasters to protect your data. Backing up important data in this way is frequently much safer than doing so at your own facility, especially if you run a smaller operation.

When the disaster has passed and you are looking to rebuild, consider what will be most cost effective and logical for you. Are you in a position to rebuild your facility? Or does it make more sense to relocate? Having an idea about your budget and capacity in advance of this kind of situation is a great way to be a little more prepared should something actually happen.