Disaster preparedness involves answering the question: How would a disaster affect your business? If you’re not sure, it’s time to start planning. Here’s a quick look at how you can prepare beforehand, and what relief might be available afterward.
BEFORE DISASTER STRIKES
- Identify key issues. Bring together managers of key areas and brainstorm on the critical steps needed to recover from a disaster. Consider at least two scenarios: a company-specific event such as a fire that affects only your business, and a regional disaster that affects the whole area. Since you can’t anticipate every need, your goal is to identify key issues and make basic preparations.
- Establish a communications protocol. Think about how you’ll communicate with employees, vendors, and customers. At a minimum, each manager should have a contact list for key employees. Include phone numbers and personal email addresses.
- Backup company records. Identify essential company records and know how you’ll access them. Make sure backups of your electronic information are stored in a safe location off-site. You may also need paper backups of certain key information in case of a power blackout. Create a master list of federal, state, and city tax information, bank account passwords, account number and login information, and insurance policy numbers.
- Review your insurance. Meet with your agent and review the scope and dollar limits of your coverage. Discuss business interruption insurance. Make sure you understand your coverage.
AFTER DISASTER STRIKES
- Apply for relief assistance. Know the steps required to apply for insurance reimbursements and federal disaster loans or grants.
- Take advantage of tax breaks. Your business may qualify for a casualty loss deduction. If you’re in a Presidentially declared disaster area, you have the option of claiming the deduction against your prior year’s taxes for a faster refund. Other tax benefits include extended due dates and penalty relief. Contact us for tax advice on your specific situation.