This year's disastrous hurricane season serves as a good reminder of why it's so important to plan for the worst

None of us have been unmoved by the coverage of this year’s disastrous hurricane season, where Harvey, Irma and Maria wreaked havoc across numerous islands, states and towns. There is much that could and should be said now about the need for disaster preparedness — on a governmental level and a community level, but also on a business level.

Simply put: Business owners should be prepared for all contingencies. Hopefully you will never have to put your disaster plan to the test, but it’s still wise to have one in case a hurricane, flood, wildfire or other naturally occurring catastrophe threatens the stability of your company.

But what does disaster preparedness really look like within the context of small-business ownership? Here are some rules of thumb:

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Embrace the cloud

Keeping records and files secure is a big concern, and the best way to safeguard your documents against disasters is to back them up to the cloud. Make certain that all of your important files are synced to the cloud automatically and stored in a secure offsite location.

Invest in insurance

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Something else you can do is to invest in the proper insurance — flood insurance, fire insurance or whatever else. Generally, it’s a smart idea to get multiple opinions on disaster insurance. Also, try to find an insurance agent who specializes in covering businesses.

Assess the damage

Should you find your business rocked by a natural disaster, it’s imperative to pause and assess the damage before you resume normal activities. Make sure you inspect the facility thoroughly for any potential safety hazards and provide an accurate depiction of the scene to your insurance company.

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Have disaster kits ready

Hopefully your staff will never have to weather a natural disaster while at work, but if they do, you’ll want everyone to be prepared. Having some disaster kits on site can be a good way to make this happen. In particular, stock up on first-aid kits, bottled water and maybe some protective gear such as eyeglasses or masks.

Run disaster drills

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We all remember fire drills from our grade school days, and business owners might also stage disaster drills. Talk through the proper protocol for handling a tornado, wildfire or other disasters that are possible within your geography, and have your team practice the right response. Remember that ensuring the safety of all your people is the top priority.

Be ready for anything

It’s good to have a disaster plan sketched out and in writing, where team members can consult it as needed. Again, the hope is that you’ll never need it, but even so, having it ready is the responsible thing to do.

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As you make your disaster-preparedness plan, think about the critical businesses assets you need to protect, and make sure that your team members are at the top of that list. Keeping your employees safe is always the foremost concern.

About the author: Amanda Clark is president and editor-in-chief of Grammar Chic Inc., a full-service professional writing company. She is a published ghostwriter and editor, and she's currently under contract with literary agencies in Malibu, California and Dublin. Since founding Grammar Chic in 2008, Clark, along with her team of skilled professional writers, has offered expertise to clients in the creative, business and academic fields. The company accepts a wide range of projects; often engages in content and social media marketing; and drafts resumes, press releases, web content, marketing materials and ghostwritten creative pieces. Contact Clark at

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