Day after day, severe flooding in Iowa, Nebraska, and Missouri communities along the Missouri River is becoming a larger and larger threat.
The painful thing is waiting to see what happens. Or what doesn’t happen.
Long term planning for disasters is a great thing for businesses to plan out in advance. However, businesses are usually busy doing business, and these long term disaster action plans are never written down and put into place.
Although it is a little late to initiate a full disaster continuity plan, there are a few things a business can do help them stay in business during and after disaster hits.
The Plan To Stay In Business!
1. Take a moment to map out or assess how your company functions internally and externally
a. Determine which staff, materials, procedures and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep the business operating.
b. Identify operations, procedures and processes within your company that are critical to survival and recovery.
c. Determine staff functions critical to survival and recovery and make plans to be able to cover these functions in case staff is tied up elsewhere
2. Identify Customers, suppliers, vendors and other businesses you must keep in touch with
a. Identify any suppliers critical to business that may be affected by the disaster and make sure you have back up options
b. Create or update contact list of all major customers, suppliers, etc and devise a sound way of communicating with them as things happen
i. Utilize website, facebook or other online tools to help you stay in touch and keep customers, etc updated
ii. Utilize email to keep customers, etc updated
3. Plan what to do if your store or building is inaccessible.
a. Determine if and how you could do business from home or a different location
b. Seek out new location (The Council Bluffs Chamber of Commerce is identifying relocation spots in this area).
c. Contact other businesses you work with to see how they could help with office space, retail space(selling your items in their store), etc.
4. Pack up essentials: Comprehensive Checklist from CIRAS here: http://www.ciras.iastate.edu/publications/FloodPlanning_6.6.11.pdf
a. Financial information is imperative for a business to have in order to file for insurance, recovery loans and grants, etc. The main documents businesses need are: 3 years of company financials, 3 years Tax Returns, receipts and deposit slips from current year(especially if books are not up to date) Insurance policies, customer records, etc.
4. Communicate plan with Employees
a. Plan for internal response – who does what, when
b. Collect or update cell phone numbers, emails, etc from all employees and contractors
c. Plan for emergency evacuations and other high emergency situations.
Ready.gov has a great general guide to flood preapartion for households and businesses
CIRAS – Center for Industrial Research and Service at Iowa State Extension offers this detailed checklist for businesses of all sizes in case of emergency evacuation.
As with all of their consulting services, there is no charge for the confidential assistance provided by the IWCC SBDC for preparing for disasters as well as assistance in the aftermath of a disaster.
Other great resources for monitoring the 2011 Missouri River Flood include:
Council Bluffs Iowa Chamber
2011 Missouri River Flood Facebook page
Fremont County Flood Facebook page