10 tips for surviving a natural disaster

Failing to prepare for a natural disaster is not an option for businesses. That’s because 75 percent of companies without business continuity plans fail within three years of a disaster.

Weather Disasters
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People’s response to natural events can also harm either themselves or the environment. Improper use of portable generators or supplemental heating devices can release deadly carbon monoxide. De-icing agents and ice melting compounds can pollute waterways. Exceptionally large amounts of debris can present serious disposal problems for state and local communities.

Janco Associates contends that if recent patterns continue, the U.S. is likely to experience anywhere from three to six major hurricanes a year and up to 1,000 tornadoes. Trends such as these, he thinks, make a disaster plan a necessity.

Janco also believes that companies that are nt able to resume operations within 10 days of a disaster are not likely to survive. According to data collected by his company, of those businesses that experience a disaster and have no emergency plan, 43 percent never reopen; of those that do reopen, only 29 percent are still operating two years later.


  1. A business should start by looking at its business continuity plan, and if it doesn’t have one, it should start one now. Its objective should be to organize, develop and administer a preparedness program.
  2. Coordinate the disaster recovery plan with the enterprise’s safety program
  3. Gather information about the hazards and risks presented by a disaster, which could be as simple as a fire or power outage.
  4. Classify the system components that could be impacted – data centers, network communications, facilities, and work at home impact
  5. Develop a preparedness plan that includes resource management, emergency response, crisis communication, business continuity, information technology, employee assistance, incident management and training.
  6. Create a crisis communication plan including social networking
  7. Test, exercise and evaluate the plan and identify what needs to be improved.
  8. The business should ensure that its employees are up to speed personally and encourage them to institute their own preparedness plan at home.
  9. Keep the telephone “communication chain” up to date
  10. Have emergency survival supplies in place and “current” and create a evacuation checklist

Employees who are prepared at their homes are employees who are able to come to work to get you back in business following a disaster.

Author: Victor Janulaitis

M. Victor Janulaitis is the CEO of Janco Associates. He has taught at the USC Graduate School of Business, been a guest lecturer at the UCLA's Anderson School of Business, a Graduate School at Harvard University, and several other universities in various programs.

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