Clint Fransen
| 09/07/2016

Ready for Disaster: Get Prepared

It seems like there’s a national month and day for everything, including National Middle Child Day, but unlike many of these unwarranted proclamations, National Disaster Preparedness Month provides a worthwhile reminder once a year. With the recent flooding in Louisiana and hurricane in Florida, preparing for a disaster seems even more pertinent. It nudges people to reconsider their disaster plans and prepare for events you normally wouldn’t think to prepare for because by nature, they’re unexpected.

This month, we’re going to share a series of blogs that talk about how your dealership can prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters.

As National Disaster Preparedness month suggests, the first step to protect your dealership from a disaster is to prepare for one. While you can’t foresee every circumstance, it’s important to prepare for what you can control. Ask yourself a few questions to see if your dealership is ready for the unexpected:

Do you have the right insurance coverage?

Insurance is designed to help you recover after a catastrophe, but it’s only effective if you have the right coverage. Sit down with your agent and discuss the intricacies of your dealership’s coverage. Make sure you have plans specifically designed for your dealership that includes property and casualty insurance as well as business interruption insurance to protect you from potential lost earnings.

Is your data protected?

If a disaster strikes, your building can be rebuilt; but if you lose valuable data, your business may not be able to recover. Taking care to protect your data, both digital and physical, is essential in getting your business back up and running after a disaster. Consider where your data is being stored and that the servers where it’s being stored are secure and trustworthy. Ensure that your backup data is not stored at your dealership; cloud services and remote servers help mitigate risk. If you have physical records, store them in disaster-proof containers and install smoke detectors. You should also make sure that your smoke alarms and security systems are functioning properly.

Do you have a communications and operations plan?

Being able to contact and communicate with the right people during a disaster is essential. Ensure that all employee contact information is up-to-date and accessible. Put a crisis communication plan in place in order to share information with customers following a disaster. In addition, make sure your operations team knows the process for getting your dealership back up and running, and can work closely with the communications team to share that information with customers. Lastly, the operations team should prepare disaster kits (which we’ll elaborate on in a later blog).

While disasters are chaotic, they don’t have to be the end for your dealership. A little preparation now will go a long way to help you recover quickly. Next week we’ll share what to do when disaster strikes.

Clint Fransen
Clint Fransen

Clint Fransen works on the Global Security Organization building business resiliency and crisis management programs. He has been a strong proponent of building public-private sector relationships and has advised local, State and Federal government agencies on best practices to build relationships between the two sectors. Clint is a Certified Business Continuity Professional and a graduate of Indiana University Bloomington.