What Do Businesses Need to Know Right Now About Emergency Response?

Why is it important for a business to have an emergency response plan for an emergency before it happens?

Most business owners are busy building their business, and they’re not always thinking about what if something happens. So, having a partner in place to help you in the case of an emergency is important for keeping your doors open for your clients and for your employees. After all, we know when your business is closed, you’re not making money.

According to FEMA, 40% of businesses that experience a disaster emergency close after that disaster.

The second statistic is 25% of those surviving businesses close within two years.

As we know, COVID-19 was an enormous disaster where a lot of businesses closed because there wasn’t a plan in place, and they weren’t able to adapt fast enough.

Having a partner in place can help with quicker responses; for example, if you’re called in the middle of the night, and the police show up or call you and say, “Hey, there’s a fire at your building, or there’s a car  in your building.” Who do you trust to come out and secure the  building? Or you have a water loss, and you have hundreds of residents in the building, and you’re trying to  care for elderly people? Having a  partnership in place with a company like Elegant Restoration allows us to come in and help you be prepared and ready for those emergencies – so you can take care of your clients or your residents. 

Do you have an emergency response plan in place that allows you to continue to keep your business open and continue serving your clients?

How do I set up an emergency response plan for my building?

We use a process where we come in, and we identify what’s important to your business. We are going to help educate you about your building, whether you lease it or whether you own it. Where are the water valves? Do you have natural gas there? Where are your electrical panels? Because if somebody hits a sign out front, you might need to know how to turn off the electricity. We’ll help you understand the unique risks associated with  your building and how that works.  

By creating a plan ahead of time, you’re prepared. You know the emergency response partner  you are calling, and you’re not overwhelmed with the entire process. You can think on your feet, call the emergency response company and we will respond. We’re going to respond 24/7/365. You will know how to turn the water off if it’s a water loss emergency. Why is that important? Because it can cut down on your claim costs.

If your claim is less than your overall deductible, you do not  need to file a claim with your insurance company. We’re there as your partner to really help understand your business, even down to the high-end artwork in your building.

There are lots of buildings with high-end artwork.  What does that mean to be taken care of? Whether it needs to be cleaned or does it have smoke damage? Is there an odor? All of these different components you really don’t think about ahead of time, we help identify them, document them, and then we have an ongoing partnership.

Obviously, there are the physical aspects of responding to an emergency, but what stands out to me is if you, as the business owner, aren’t available at your business, your team can make sure  the plan gets implemented – and they are not second-guessing. The team is not trying to figure out what you would want them to do.  What are the next steps? Who do I call? It’s really just a matter of following the process and documenting your property  ahead of time.

What is the process for creating an emergency response plan?

When working with a company like Elegant Restoration, we’re reaching out to the business community. So, in your community, there are other businesses just like ours doing the same thing. Reach out to your local  network of restoration contractors to see who does pre-planning and find out what the process is.  Is there a cost for it? We offer it to our clients at no cost. We’re coming in, and we’re going to help you be prepared. After all, you don’t need us until you need us.

It’s really important for your employees to understand who they are calling in an emergency. Who are we working with?

The other important piece is that I know who on your team is there to make decisions.  That way, when you are off on vacation, those decisions can be made. If you’re here locally, in the Baltimore area, give me a call or email me at Elegant Restoration, and we can help.

But understanding what an emergency means for my business – especially if I can’t keep my doors open – it is essential to pre-plan and be prepared.

Additionally, when putting a plan in place, it’s essential to think of the different types of businesses. Some businesses have very specialized equipment, whether it’s lab equipment or medical equipment, for example. And, if there’s a fire, how is that going to work as you can’t move an MRI. There are unique factors like that you must think about ahead of time. So, what does that look like? Who are the vendors who come in to service the piece of equipment if something of that nature happened?

Some people still have paper files. Where are they? Why are they important? Can you get them digitized? Just helping them really look at the whole process.

And we take baby steps – so it’s not overwhelming.

And what does the building envelope look like? The building envelope is the outside of your building – from your roof all the way down to your windows, walls, floors, everything. And if that’s penetrated by water or vehicle or fire, the contents of the building can vary based on the type of business – and with a plan in place, whether it’s an office or an operating room, your needs can be handled.

3 Action Steps

  1. Create an emergency response plan so your business can continue to operate in the event of a catastrophic event.
  2. Make sure your plan includes all of the vital details – from building details to equipment to people who can make critical decisions.
  3. Look locally for a restoration company in your area who may be able to assist you with the creation of your emergency response plan.

Connect with Julie Chmura at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/juliechmura/ or julie@elegantrestoration.com

Please comment below, I would love to hear from you.

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