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It is essential to have a written plan. It should be:

  • Dynamic
  • Flexible
  • Current

Use a notebook that’s suitable for storing written instructions and copies of necessary documents. Organize information by using tabbed sheet dividers to separate topics. It will save time when you need it later. Purchase a few inserts that have pockets so you can tuck loose papers and receipts inside them.

Create one section each for:

  • Valuable Documents Information: You need to know where copies of your important papers are, but don't file confidential data where someone else could access it. This section should, however, include the names and contact numbers of landlords or lien holders. Be sure to note policy numbers and contact information in case you have to file a claim. Know where equipment manuals and warranties are stored.
  •  Building Inspection Records: File a copy of the inspection you performed and update it as necessary.
  • Inventory Records: File the inventory you prepared and keep it up to date. Include photos and/or manufacturers’ information.
  • Communications Plan: Be specific about how you will notify employees and patients if your office must close. Write down how you will communicate with them before—and after—a disaster. Decide on a backup plan if central communication lines are disabled. Identify your off-site, central communication point. Use this section for your | Telephone Contact List.
  • Transportation Strategy: Keep a local map for quick reference. Create a plan for evacuating patients—especially those who may need physical assistance. Know where your employees live and all the variations of travel paths to and from those locations and your office. If you have a designated, alternative location from which to work if your building is destroyed, include those travel routes.
  •  Response Checklists: Use the suggested action plan and customize it for your specific situation. Make extra copies so you can distribute them to employees if you have to prepare for a storm.
  • Receipt Folder: During a disaster situation, you may incur numerous out-of-the-ordinary expenses and financial obligations. Make certain you have a temporary place for saving invoices, receipts, copies of orders, etc.
  • Publications: Include a copy of this guide and other valuable reference materials you gather.
  • Recovery Plan: Develop a recovery strategy that contains these elements:
    • A designated person who knows your business and will take command if necessary
    • Well-trained employees who know their roles in the plan, and who will effectively support the designated team leader
      • Short-term and long-term objectives
      • Adequate financial and personnel resources
      • Effective damage assessment

Your plan should become part of your everyday operation. It must be flexible enough to reflect the constantly changing environment in your office and in its surroundings. Modify it whenever you add or delete inventory, change equipment or procedures, or reassign staff responsibilities. Keep valuable contact and recovery information up to date. At the very least, analyze your overall plan once each year. If you need to, schedule your review to coincide with a recurring event, such as your annual insurance renewal date.

Take it with you when you secure your office for an impending storm. Its contents will be critical to maintaining control during a crisis.