disaster-protectionSummertime means a lot of things to a lot of people. Vacations, cookouts, outdoor activities … but in our world of mechanical services, one thing must be top of mind: disaster preparedness. A sudden, severe storm or other calamity can easily shut down a business site, impacting staffers and clients alike. Once a year, consider it a best practice to review and implement a disaster plan to prepare for the worst. Below are some considerations to get you started.

Take Stock of Your Company

In order of importance, make a list of all critical company assets. Ask yourself or your team leaders, “What equipment and/or systems are essential to keep the business up and running?” In the event of a power loss, you need to understand the full impact this will have on your computer systems, equipment for transporting hazardous materials, communications operations, etc.  All critical systems will need to be powered as soon as possible, so you’ll need to have quick access to backup generators or else the option of an alternate site. If certain materials on site require heating or refrigeration and power is not available, you’ll also need to have an option for immediate transport.

Be sure to develop a timeline in the event production processes are halted. Determine at what point you will need to bring in outside resources and vendors in order to avoid loss of product. Perhaps your company has a facility nearby that can assist, but you’ll need to coordinate your plan with those team leaders now.

Backup Teams, Plans, and Systems for Disaster Planning

Maintain an updated list of all key personnel, their roles, and their contact information. In an emergency, the last thing you want is to waste precious time trying to track down your support crew. Off-site computer backups are strongly recommended, too, for protection in the event that your building is hit.

One other item you’ll want to consider is business interruption insurance. After a disaster, it could be some time before your systems and personnel are up and running again, which equates to lost revenue at a time when you simply can’t afford it. Pre-planning now can prove to be just the financial buffer you’ll need down the road.

Of course, in conjunction with this, you’ll need to make certain all of your insurance documentation is up to date to avoid any issues when and if you need it.

When Disaster Strikes Others

You might have a solid plan within your own building, but are you prepared when disaster strikes one of your facilities in another state or country? What if one of your suppliers is affected? If you rely on incoming products to keep your business moving, an outside work stoppage could mean a shutdown for you as well.

For example, one of our Midwest clients relies on a supplier located in Tennessee, where severe weather is common. A tornado shut down the supplier’s factory for a time and huge railcar shipments of soda ash were stopped, in effect putting a big crimp on production for the Midwest company. Another supplier was eventually located and smaller units were used, but a backup vendor plan really would have been useful in this situation.

To summarize, the best time to take action is before you need to take action. Don’t wait for disaster to strike. And if something unplanned for does happen (it’s impossible to plan for everything, after all), simply contact TMS. Our team has the disaster recovery experience and know how to solve problems and get you back running again quickly.