The wildfires that scorched 500,000 acres in Southern California last month made life miserable for millions, including those in the event industry. While disaster may be unavoidable, a little preparation can ease the blow. Jerry Davies, director of media relations for Farmers Insurance in Los Angeles, offers tips on how small businesses can get back in business faster:
For more on the effect of the wildfires on local party rental companies, see the December issue of Special Events Magazine.
· Update insurance often, and make sure you have business interruption insurance if you have to leave your facility and move to a temporary location.
· Do a thorough safety inspection to prepare your business for fire, flood, earthquake or other specific threats in your area. Your insurance company as well as local fire and emergency services have good information on this.
· Do a complete inventory of your business, listing everything in each room. Videotaping is one way to do this.
· Back up computer information frequently--all customer files, billing, everything--and store off site.
· Have important papers filed in a container for quick removal should you have to evacuate.
· Create and rehearse an evacuation plan for all employees with assignments on who should carry out what items.
· Determine a plan to notify all clients how key people in your company can be reached should there be an evacuation. Same for your employees — and be sure to figure out and explain how payroll will be handled, along with other important issues.