Planning for the future is a big part of running a business, from ordering inventory to employee scheduling and developing marketing strategies. Emergency planning should be one of these ongoing tasks to help your business effectively respond in the event of a crisis, ensure business continuity and protect your future.

For many business owners, there never seems to be enough time in a day. Unfortunately, this means emergency planning and risk management often get pushed aside for more pressing and revenue-generating tasks. While nobody wants to live in fear, it’s better to create an emergency plan that never gets used than scrambling to respond when a crisis does arise.

Here are some of the most notable crises that any business should create an emergency plan for:

Theft

Even the best security measures can fail, so every business needs an emergency plan to address the possible types of theft that could occur. Depending on the nature of the theft, it could be anything from a minor convenience to a catastrophic event.

Theft of inventory could cause a significant financial loss but may not necessarily impact your ability to operate. On the other hand, theft of key equipment such as computers, IT infrastructure, production equipment or company vehicles may prove to be more disruptive. Your emergency plan should address both short and long-term business continuity, as well as recovery of or compensation for stolen property and equipment.

A break in could also cause physical damage to your office, storefront or vehicles that could affect your ability to operate, so your emergency plan should also address this aspect of theft.

Extreme Weather

As our weather patterns continue to evolve, planning for extreme weather is more important than ever. In fact, the cost of insurance damage for severe weather events in Canada was $1.9 billion in 2018, which was the fourth-highest amount of losses on record.

Extreme weather comes in many different forms and can affect your business in a variety of ways, so you should consider as many scenarios as possible in your emergency planning. 

Planning for extreme weather is critical for every business regardless of where you are or what you do. Your local climate, as well as your specific business, will determine exactly what you need to plan for.

Extended Power Outage

Similar to theft, the impact of an extended power outage ultimately depends on the nature of your business. The equipment you use, how you serve customers and whether or not you have inventory that needs to be kept at specific temperatures are some of the many factors that influence the consequences of a power outage. 

For some businesses, a power outage simply means a loss in time or productivity and normal operations can resume as soon as the power is back on. For others, it could have more serious impacts such as safety risks to staff and customers or having to dispose of inventory that has spoiled or become unusable. 

Your emergency plan should cover both what to do while the power is out and procedures (if necessary) for when it comes back on.

Key Equipment Failure

Whether your business relies on a network of computers, kitchen equipment, power tools or a company vehicle, a breakdown of the equipment you rely on for your operations can cause major disruptions and loss of income. 

Preventative measures such as regular maintenance and employee training on proper equipment usage are some of the best steps you can take to avoid this type of crisis. When these aren’t enough, your emergency plan should address any immediate safety concerns, backup equipment that may be available and how to restore your equipment to working order as fast as possible.

Best Practices for Emergency Planning

  • Make sure your emergency plan exists in a formal document
  • Create multiple copies of your emergency plan, including copies that are stored off-site or digitally
  • Review your emergency plans at least once a year and make any necessary changes or updates based on changes in your business or an updated risk assessment
  • Provide training to your employees to ensure they are prepared to execute emergency procedures 
  • Speak with your insurance agent to ensure you have adequate coverage in the event your business does face a crisis 

 A little bit of planning can go a long way in ensuring safety, minimizing negative impacts and getting your operations back up and running as soon as possible after facing a business crisis. Take the time to create a comprehensive emergency plan for the risks your company faces (including ones we may not have mentioned above!) to help secure the safety and prosperity of your business for years to come.

Cayuga Mutual is here to help with a wide range of business insurance products, from equipment breakdown to business interruption and commercial general liability coverage. Contact our professional agents today to get started with a business insurance policy tailored to your unique needs.