Small Business Questions & Answers


Filed under Finance

Ask About Disaster Planning

by Being Prepared | May 26, 2012

Subject :Finances

Dear Toolkit,

Have you got a practical and to-the-point laundry list of suggestions and available resources I could use to prepare for any disaster, man-made or otherwise?


Being Prepared

Dear Being Prepared,

I can do better than that! Besides our discussion on the subject, I can point you to this Red Cross disaster preparedness checklist that will spell out all the essentials for you.

The Red Cross site mentioned above, titled Disasters and Financial Planning: A Guide for Preparedness, is offered as a very worthwhile public service of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), AICPA Foundation, the American Red Cross, and the National Endowment for Financial EducationĀ® (NEFEĀ®). It's also available in hard copy.

You'll find the site is divided into six categories.

  1. Disaster Plan covers planning for special needs and family, assembling an emergency kit, and offers a list of ways to reach helpful agencies.
  2. Property essentially covers "mitigation". . .how to minimize potential damage from all sorts of perils such as fire, flood, wind and earthquake. Practical suggestions such as learning how to turn off all your utilities are found in this section as well as ideas about how to fund any mitigation that may be needed.
  3. Income discusses what to do if your employer or business shuts down or if you are injured and disabled. A listing of help agencies to contact is also included.
  4. Health/Life points out several insurance strategies that could be employed.
  5. Records discusses bank vault storage vs. home storage alternatives and gives an extensive list of the types of records you'll want to store on and off premises as well as which ones to include in your emergency kit. Photos or video documentation of property is also suggested.
  6. Loved Ones indicates how you can prepare others to handle a crisis in the event you should be absent for whatever reason. This includes estate plans as well as letters of instruction on a whole host of things right down to caring for your pets.

The introduction to the site lets you know that it's not intended to be all inclusive and also that you may not have use for all the things they suggest. It's not intended as a one-size-fits-all solution and you may have to add things that are unique to your situation. Look at this site as a menu from which to choose those points that will help you minimize potential losses and safeguard the things and people you value.