Key factors to consider when preparing your business for wildfires

Wildfires spread by hurricane-force winds have led to evacuations and precautionary power outages across California over the past few days. Major research institutions, including the University of California, Berkeley (UCB), endured their second blackout in a month.

Wildfires can threaten lives and property, be difficult to control, and leave destruction in their wake. Wildfires can even create weather conditions of their own; hot flames and gases can rise rapidly from a wildfire, displacing relatively cooler surrounding air. This can lead to surface wind patterns blowing at hurricane-force speeds.

As you start the process of assessing the potential or actual effect of wildfires on your business and establishing or implementing a recovery plan, following are the  three key factors that need to be considered when preparing for natural disasters like this :

1 – Risk Assessment and Response Strategy:

Analyze the potential risks and threats for your business and implement risk reduction and response strategies. Having appropriate business insurance coverage is an important step. However, that’s not the only thing you should consider. In case of disasters like wildfires, good fire safety is of utmost importance.  The process also involves creating secure zones, using fire-resistant materials, and putting together evacuation plans. Fire-resistant plants can also be planted around as a part of landscaping.

2 – Employees come first

Higher management must communicate that readiness is always a priority. It is important to involve all the stakeholders when creating a business continuity plan and make the plan easily accessible to all the employees. It is critical to review the plan periodically and create awareness about the incident response strategy. Creating organization level campaigns and regular fire drills really help in this process. It is also important to consider the health conditions like asthma or any other health implications of fire for impacted employees. Have you communicated about your risk response strategy and business continuity plan to your team?

3 – Choose Sustainability

Extreme weather conditions due to global warming have an impact on all businesses. Making our infrastructure equipped to ward off such implications is the need of the time. With the ongoing wildfire, businesses in California now also need to be prepared for the planned power outages. Businesses must implement workarounds for these planned outages—whether that means work-from-home or backup power like generators. Any of these strategies will require an investment of time and resources.

How quickly you bounce back after a disaster may depend on how well you plan before it. Business owners everywhere need to spend a little time with business preparedness plans, it will reduce the damage in case of a disaster and make the business more resilient.

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