BE PROACTIVE, NOT REACTIVE
A worst-case disaster scenario involving fire or water damage can seem unthinkable until it suddenly becomes a reality. In the aftermath of a disaster, a quick response time by a disaster recovery company such as SERVPRO® can help minimize property damage.
Business owners need to have a quick and convenient emergency disaster plan that connects them with vendors, necessary contacts, and pertinent information when disaster strikes. The SERVPRO Emergency Ready Plan (ERP) is a respected industry tool during a disaster event. An ERP is so valuable, that in the midst of the confusion and panic that often surround a disaster, an owner or manager can be provided a sense of calm and clarity in reaching out for expert help.
When building an emergency plan, there are four keys to remember.
1. Identify your facility’s greatest threats in order to assess the overall severity of the event.
During this discovery mode, what are your greatest threats (i.e. fires, tornadoes, floods, etc.)? Look at your locations. Do you have any that would be in a “tornado alley,” at risk for hurricane damage, or subject to deep freezing temperatures? Try to think outside the box, without becoming a doomsday prepper!
2. Document all vital information and establish clear communication activities.
An ERP needs to contain critical property information that can help speed up response time after a disaster occurs. Consider including any documented prior loss history, identify and label utility shut off locations, and prioritize your key contacts. Prior loss history can provide first responders and restoration vendors with historical information on your facility’s condition. Proper utility identification will allow for quicker response times for emergency shut off, requests and key contact information is vital to starting the recovery process, allowing you to quickly contact key personnel and answer priority questions.
3. Practice! Practice! Practice! There is no “textbook” event, so expect the unexpected.
You should conduct practice sessions to make sure everyone is clear on the process. Always have clear evacuation routes in your ERP, and set a distribution chain for your disaster recovery plan amongst key contacts and various locations.
4. Keep it updated, and have all necessary information communicated with your insurance company and emergency restoration vendors.
The best way for the recovery to begin is remaining proactive by always keeping your ERP updated. Your SERVPRO representative can help keep your ERP up-to-date. People will come and go, updates will be made to the facility, and utilities can change. This should be a dynamic document that changes as your business does. If you don’t keep it updated, you’ll be several steps behind when disaster strikes.