How to encourage clients to prepare for a disaster

By Stephanie Dillinger, Risk Control on March 15, 2017

Catastophes can change everything

Disasters can be categorized into three groups: natural (hurricanes, droughts and fires), accidental (train derailment or plane crashes), and intentional (riots, cyber-attacks and bombings). The first step clients should take to prepare for a disaster is to know the specific hazards and emergencies that may affect their operations.

Work to ensure that clients know community warning systems and evacuation routes as well as where they can seek shelter from all types of disasters. Encourage them to develop emergency plans, prepare disaster supply kits and train staff in first aid, evacuation procedures and safety drills. Clients should also be asked to determine how they will communicate with employees, customers and others during any type of disaster. Cell phones, walkie-talkies or other devices that do not rely on electricity should be available to be used as alternative methods of communication.

Remind clients to back up their computer data systems regularly. There are multiple ways they can do this depending on the size and nature of their operations. Have them keep in mind where backups are stored. A natural disaster that hits your client’s business is also likely to affect other nearby facilities.  This can make retrieval of records difficult or even impossible. Cloud storage is a possible solution to this, but not if your client encounters an intentional disaster, such as a cyber-attack. Clients should be asked to consider a combination of methods for backing up their data, for instance cloud storage and hard copy storage at an offsite location.

Let clients know that the pace at which they can get back to business after a disaster often depends on the emergency planning they do beforehand. Ask clients to consider planning now to improve the likelihood that their businesses will survive and recover from disasters. In addition, remind them to review emergency plans annually. Personal and business situations change over time as do preparedness needs.

By working hard to keep clients prepared in the case of a disaster, you will simultaneously earn their trust, gratitude and respect.


Stephanie Dillinger, Risk Control

Stephanie isn’t limited to technical writing, although she is a stickler for good grammar; she’s also an architect, currently building her dream home with Legos. The master suite includes a spa-like bathroom, his and her walk-in closets, a writer’s nook (of course) and a balcony overlooking a not-yet-installed infinity pool.

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