What is a Disaster Preparedness Plan and Why Is It Critical for Disaster Recovery?

Due to the rising frequency and intensity of severe weather events, hundreds of thousands of businesses are at risk. Data shows that abnormal weather events disrupt the operations of roughly 70% of businesses at some point in time. 

The tally of businesses crippled and ended by catastrophic weather and climate events, including floods, tornadoes, and extreme temperatures, rises every day. Despite the risks of under-preparation, only 54% of businesses have disaster recovery plans in place, and that proportion continues to grow. If you haven’t done comprehensive disaster recovery planning for your business, you should start today. If you’re part of the minority of business owners who need additional convincing, this article will help to explain the why. 

The Basics of Disaster Preparedness Planning

FEMA estimates that roughly 40% of businesses will not reopen following a natural disaster, and a quarter of those that do reopen will not make it more than a year. For that reason, experts no longer see disaster recovery planning as an optional business strategy- now, it’s a necessity. 

Although planning for an unforeseen event can seem overwhelming or impossible, the reality is that businesses that do undertake the effort tend to fare far better than their less prepared counterparts. 

A Disaster Preparedness Plan, also known as a disaster recovery plan (DRP), refers to a detailed set of protocols for weathering a catastrophic event and resuming operations as soon as possible afterwards. 

Three Reasons Why Having a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) is Mission Critical 

 

Contrary to popular belief, DRPs fall under business strategy. There are three primary reasons why DRPs are mission critical to your business: 

  • It Raises Your Business’s Chance of Survival in the Aftermath of a Catastrophic Event 

Over the past several years, natural disasters throughout the U.S. have set new records and then broken them. Experts expect this trend will continue, meaning that when it comes to the possibility of catastrophic damage to your business, it’s a matter of if, not when. 

 

Every year, severe weather events occur that impact businesses in the hundreds and thousands, such as the 2018 California wildfires, which alone destroyed 700 businesses

Disaster planning is strategic because it helps to minimize the costly damages businesses experience in the immediate aftermath of natural disasters, and that helps your business not only survive but remain competitive. By taking steps like securing equipment, digitizing documentation to be stored on- and/or off-premises, and maintaining relevant insurance coverage, you also speed up your business’s path to recovery. 

  • Minimizing Downtime 

Costs in the aftermath of a severe weather event not only result from damage to property and loss of assets—additional costs also come in the form of downtime. The longer it takes your business to resume operations, the greater the financial strain of continuing overhead costs and other financial responsibilities. 

Downtime costs along can create an existential threat to your business. According to recent data, downtime costs for medium to enterprise-scale companies average upwards of $300,000 per hour. Although downtime costs for smaller businesses average far lower, they can be just as damaging and even more so for the business. The consequences are especially severe for small and medium sized businesses (SMBs). 

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), roughly two out of three SMBs impacted by flooding, tornadoes, wildfires, and other natural disasters will not survive longer than 12 months after being affected. 


  • Ensuring Safety of Employees 

One of the most infamous examples in recent memory of a lacking disaster recovery planning for severe weather was the Illinois Amazon partial warehouse collapse in 2021. When an F3 tornado tore through the Edwardsville warehouse, it experienced a partial collapse, killing six employees and injuring several others. Alongside the harm and loss of life, Amazon was then faced with several lawsuits, probes, and the loss of an executive as a result of its lacking safety measures. 

Hands down, the most important aspect of disaster preparedness planning involves safety considerations for your employees and clients. Structural integrity and structural considerations are a core component of safety. Whether your business is impacted by a tornado, earthquake, or other catastrophic event, maintaining and fortifying the structural integrity of your business is paramount. This also includes a plan for exiting the structure in a fast but orderly manner. 

Although business owners and leaders have every intention of protecting their employees, pressures to meet deadlines and financial goals can sometimes put “profits ahead of safety”. But Amazon’s intensifying PR nightmare over accusations of poor worker treatment and lacking safety planning highlights that consumers aren’t keen on companies that don’t take the necessary steps to care for their employees. 

What Else You Need to Know

It’s not unheard of for disaster recovery plans to fail. According to experts, DRPs can fail when they “do not properly identify and understand disaster recovery dependencies” or are untested, poorly communicated, and overlook the importance of frequent data back-ups. 

That’s why it’s important not only to have a disaster plan, but to develop a partnership with a reputable disaster recovery service that can serve as a guide in preparing for the possibility of a natural disaster, but also work shoulder-to-shoulder with you in weathering the event and resuming operations as quickly as possible. 

Look No Further than Sphaera

Sphaera Provides Full Lifecycle IT infrastructure management for telecoms, data centers, and enterprises, but the work we do spans far more than that. Sphaera experts collectively share decades of experience in comprehensive disaster recovery services, including everything from fundamental building repairs to complete structural redesigns that prepare your business to weather the next severe weather event.  

To learn more about our company, our reputation, and our full-spectrum array of services, visit our website and give us a call today! 


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