Texas Wildfires Forcing Businesses to Enact Emergency Back-Up Measures

Texas Wildfires Forcing Businesses to Enact Emergency Back-Up Measures

As the historic Texas wildfires continue to rage, many businesses find themselves in major peril. Significant business disruptions are, for some, the least of their worries. Owners have been forced to evacuate or have seen their establishments destroyed. Long-held family businesses have been reduced to ashes in some places. No industry is safe from the inferno and there appears to be little if any relief in sight.

In times like these, it is essential to remember that every business must have emergency and backup plans. Without these, the company you have built and maintained could be ruined overnight. The Oracle Legal Group examines some of the best measures that can help you prepare for the worst.

A trail of destruction

Known as the Smokehouse Creek Fire, the Texas wildfires have affected an area larger than Rhode Island. Flames have covered at least 1 million acres, or approximately 1,600 square miles. These numbers continue to fluctuate because the fire is, by some estimates, only 15% contained in certain places. Tens of thousands of acres in Oklahoma have also been burned.

As of the beginning of March, approximately 500 homes and structures have been destroyed. Many of these are businesses and the numbers will almost certainly grow. Farmers and other agricultural businesses have been especially hard hit. Some have noted that the cattle industry, a staple of Texas, has been devastated. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and local companies are planning outreach initiatives to assist those affected.

Texas Wildfires Forcing Businesses to Enact Emergency Back-Up Measures

Preparing your business for an emergency

The wildfires have shown just how critical it is for Texas businesses to enact emergency and backup plans. Whether due to natural or man-made disasters, catastrophe can impact any company regardless of size or location. These are a few measures you should consider taking:

Backup and secure all data. It is imperative that you digitally backup your business data and store it off-site or in cloud-based storage. Some items can be physically stored, for instance in fireproof safes or other locations. Make sure sensitive customer information like financial records are protected from cyber attacks.

Review your insurance coverage. If you haven’t reviewed your insurance policies in some time, you should consider doing so. You need to understand what types of events are covered and what the insurance will pay for. It may be a good idea to increase your policy limits as well. Speak to your insurance agent and make sure the company’s equipment, property, and other assets are properly insured.

Secure the property. You may not be able to physically move your business, but you can strengthen it. For instance, you should install surveillance cameras and alarms in the event of looting caused by a disaster. In light of the wildfires, you may want to upgrade your building with fire- or flood-resistant building materials. Maintain the premises as well to avoid property hazards.

Make a list of emergency contacts. Included in this list should be your:

  • Insurance agent
  • Bank and other financial institutions
  • Employees
  • Suppliers
  • Other key individuals

Develop an emergency operations plan. If your business is damaged or destroyed, you need to ensure continued operations if possible. Even if you have to operate at a reduced capacity, an emergency plan can help. Make sure it includes how you can contact customers who may be affected by the disaster. It should also identify essential employees and the roles they will serve if needed. Finally, include detailed steps for contacting your insurer and resuming normal business functions.

Create an evacuation plan. A disaster can strike at any moment. Your first priority should be the lives and safety of everyone who works for your business. However, the majority of businesses have never given much thought to an evacuation plan. It’s a good idea to develop one and conduct regular drills to cover exigent circumstances.

Helping Your Business Through Good Times and Bad

No matter what events may come your way, having experienced legal counsel is always a good idea. The Oracle Legal Group helps businesses with all aspects of Texas business law. From starting your company to defending its interests in court, we have you covered. Reach out to us today to learn more.

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