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Year in Review

Disaster Planning

Why should businesses prepare for disasters?

  • Up to 40% of businesses affected by a natural or human-caused disaster never reopen. (Source: Insurance Information Institute)
  • Customers expect delivery of products or services on time. If there is a significant delay, customers may go to a competitor.
  • Larger businesses are asking their suppliers about preparedness. They want to be sure that their supply chain is not interrupted. Failure to implement a preparedness program risks losing business to competitors who can demonstrate they have a plan.
  • Insurance is only a partial solution. It does not cover all losses and it will not replace customers.
  • Many disasters — natural or human-caused — may overwhelm the resources of even the largest public agencies. Or they may not be able to reach every facility in time.
  • News travels fast and perceptions often differ from reality. Businesses need to reach out to customers and other stakeholders quickly.
  • An Ad Council survey reported that nearly two-thirds (62%) of respondents said they do not have an emergency plan in place for their business.

What is the real cost of a loss?

The obvious effects of disaster on a business are usually easy to measure: wet walls, smoke damage, and lots of clean up. The damage to the structure and contents often need professional restoration and repair, but depending on how well the recovery is managed, other problems can be unveiled.

What’s not easy to measure are the long term effects the recovery process has on your staff, clients and reputation. In the age of social media, online surveys, and word-of-mouth, the clients’ overall experience means everything.

Keys to managing how the recovery impacts your clients:

  • Reduce visible ongoing repair. By erecting temporary walls and working behind closed doors, the client’s experience is not impacted.
  • Avoid loud work during peak times.
  • Keep work areas clean and free from clutter.
  • Use the latest technologies for faster drying and cleaning.

Choosing your restoration vendor

The worst time to exchange business cards is in the middle of a disaster.

If you have been through a water, fire, storm or other disaster, you have most likely experienced the long line of disaster companies showing up offering their services. Franchises, carpet cleaners, construction companies and remodelers all ready to have you sign a contract. The problem is, who will you trust to bring your property back to a pre loss condition on time and on budget? If you are not familiar with the company you are rolling the dice, and hiring the wrong vendor leads to another disaster that’s more frustrating than the original problem.

What to look for when choosing a vendor

Will they be there when we need them? Your restoration company needs to be available 24/7/365. They should provide you a contact number that is answered by a live person at all hours every day of the year.

What is their response time from the call to our property? Where are they located compared to your property? They need to be close enough to be there when you need them. They need to have crews on call prepared to respond at all hours.

Are they qualified? What are their qualifications? Your vendor should be certified by the IICRC, RIA or comparable training group. They need to be experts in Water, Fire, Storm, Trauma, Mold remediation and Infectious disease control.

Preparing for hurricanes

  1. Make preparedness top of mind. Have a plan! The implementation process must be managed by senior managers with involvement from the whole team. Utilize Safety/Risk Committees to assist in completing and maintaining the plan, share efforts and responsibility and involve employees. Your plan should be a collaborative effort between your staff, local response agencies, vendors and other resources
  2. Watch the weather. Continue listening to a NOAA Weather Radio or the local news for the latest updates. Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding even after the hurricane or tropical storm has ended.
  3. Make it a team thing. If only the boss is thinking ahead, that’s not enough. It takes a team to mitigate costs and damage. How does a company get the team disciplined to think preventively and ahead? Especially with regular turnover? Webinars, e-mail reminders, virtual learning. ACT is ramping up its tools to help with this point.
  4. It is important to know who is going to help return your property to operational condition. Create a list of your emergency vendors: restoration company, plumber, electrician and roofer etc. Call each one to discuss and verify what they are ready to do for you in your time of need.
  5. Assemble a disaster supply kit to include:  water, nonperishable food items, first aid supplies, clothing & bedding, tools & emergency supplies. Secure all windows and any outdoor items that could become flying objects, Wedge sliding glass doors so they do not lift off track. Fuel and service your vehicle, gas often becomes hard to purchase. Have an extra supply of cash on hand; with no power credit cards are worthless. If your property has a back-up generator, test it and have extra fuel. Purchase weather proofing supplies (plywood, sand bags, duct tape, etc.) Evacuate, if advised to do so!

 

Advance Catastrophes Technologies (ACT) is your partner for total disaster planning, response and recovery. Disaster strikes in an instant, and although you can’t predict when it will happen, you can be prepared.

Companies across the U.S. are turning to ACT for advance planning, immediate disaster response, and expert restoration. Whether the event is a Cat 5 hurricane in New Orleans, a wildfire in Southern California or a nor’ easter in New England, ACT is there when it matters.

From the initial plan to the final steps of recovery, ACT is the single source solution for all of your disaster management needs.

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