Last year, the Pineapple Express arrived in the Pacific Northwest and it was not a sweet visit. This cleverly named “atmospheric river” funneled moisture continuously from the ocean to drop it over land, dumping historic rainfall on British Columbia and neighbouring Washington State. The precipitation amount and thundering intensity stunned citizens and forecasters alike: Hope, British Columbia, received nearly 280 millimeters of rain in less than 48 hours, for instance. It was the costliest natural disaster ever in British Columbia.  

The event severely disrupted transportation, commerce and businesses across the affected locales. But the companies that fared the best had planned far in advance to minimize revenue loss in case of disaster. These savvy companies anticipated four typical business impacts. They assigned teams to scrutinize these four impacts, ask questions and create emergency plans long before threats materialized:

  • Power outages: Does your business have backup power? What systems and equipment will be affected if the electricity fails: security systems, water supply, communications, inventory management, retail operations?
  • Access difficulties: Is your business located in an area that may experience severe natural hazards like floods, wildfires or seismic disturbances? Will employees shelter in place, and if so, is the location stocked to support your people? What happens if your team can’t enter the area at all? 
  • Closures: Your business may have to close in the event of a serious event and shutdowns should be orderly. What needs to happen when to protect people, inventory and operations? How will management deploy emergency plans, communicate with each other and notify employees? How will they maintain contact with emergency services and local authorities? 
  • Property damage: Are you maintaining your property, structures and fixtures to minimize disaster impacts? If a disaster occurs, do you know who will assess, mitigate and restore damages?

Fortunately, Paul Davis can help businesses get ready with the Emergency Preparedness Plan program. “Our disaster professionals will prepare and provide to you – free of charge – an EPP tailored to your business. The EPP cites emergency contacts, preferred trade and supplier partners, specific mechanical room information, locations of shutoff switches and a variety of additional details you will need in an emergency,” says Peter Heary, President of Paul Davis GTA West Group in Ontario, Canada. 

Having an EPP in place with Paul Davis also ensures that your business is first in line for disaster assistance if a disaster strikes. “Three quarters of business owners do not have an emergency plan,” Heary concludes, “and forty percent of businesses close permanently after a disaster. Make sure your company is on the right side of those sobering statistics.”