Natural disasters in this country are happening as frequently as ever, and you never know when one is going to strike your place of business. You can’t prevent a disaster, but just as you can prepare your home, you can take certain precautions to minimize the damage to your business.
Take a Serious Look at Your Building
Natural disaster preparation starts with the physical building itself. Operating out of the right building can make all the difference in the world. Concrete buildings are among the best when it comes to not only disaster resistance, but also sustainability.
“With today’s heightened awareness and demand for sustainable construction, concrete performs well when compared to other building materials,” says Concrete Thinker.
“Concrete is a sustainable building material due to its many eco-friendly features. The production of concrete is resource-efficient, and the ingredients require little processing. Most materials for concrete are acquired and manufactured locally, which minimizes transportation energy. Concrete building systems combine insulation with high thermal mass and low air infiltration to make homes and buildings more energy efficient. Concrete has a long service life for buildings and transportation infrastructure, thereby increasing the period between reconstruction, repair, and maintenance and the associated environmental impact. Concrete, when used as pavement or exterior cladding, helps minimize the urban heat island effect, thus reducing the energy required to heat and cool our homes and buildings. Concrete incorporates recycled industrial byproducts such as fly ash, slag, and silica fume that helps reduce embodied energy, carbon footprint, and waste.”
Sustainable Sources recommends Flyash Concrete, saying it “offers environmental advantages by diverting the material from the wastestream, reducing the energy investment in processing virgin materials, conserving virgin materials, and allaying pollution.”
Put a Disaster Preparedness Program In Place
You can’t prepare for a natural disaster without a plan, and a good place to start is at the Department of Homeland Security’s Ready.gov site, which provides information on a five-step process including:
- Program Management
- Testing and Exercises
- Program Improvement
The site says, “Ready Business will assist businesses in developing a preparedness program by providing tools to create a plan that addresses the impact of many hazards. This website and its tools utilize an ‘all hazards approach’ and follows the program elements within National Fire Protection Association 1600, Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs. NFPA 1600 is an American National Standard and has been adopted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.”
Use An Off-Site Storage Facility
Renting out an off-site storage facility is a good idea for protecting critical business materials that don’t necessarily need to be at your main place of operation. A storage unit can be used to store copies of important materials and data in case your building is destroyed or seriously damaged by disaster. Depending on what you’re storing, it is wise to spring for a climate-controlled storage unit so your items aren’t damaged by exposure to extreme temperatures like high humidity, which can cause water damage and rust. If your everyday business involves the use of hazardous materials, ensure they are properly stored in a unit that can withstand the effects of a natural disaster.
These tips only scratch the surface of what you should consider for disaster preparedness for your business. The American Red Cross has a checklist available here that you should also take the time to review.