Emergency Contingency Plan

Did you get caught out by the recent floods? How well prepare are you for any future emergency situations?

You may think that planning for a one in a hundred year event is a waste of resources but having a plan in place to protect workers and minimise business disruption makes good business sense.

Recent disruptions by flood is not the only concern, fire, criminal damage, interruptions to power and other essential materials could leave your business without a steady stream of income for any number of hours or days.

Your Contingency Plan does not need to be an exhaustive document that attempts to cover every possible variable but it should look to minimise the risk involved in an emergency situation by providing clear guidelines.

As part of your emergency checklist:

  • examine your legal responsibilities with a solicitor:who can help interpret employment contracts, leases, contracts of supply, insurance policies, and give advice on your legal options
  • identify all current payments which can be delayed:for example, talk to suppliers about deferring payment of invoices temporarily until the business is trading again
  • meet with your bank to discuss restructuring any business or personal loans: check if they are willing to delay loan repayments, mortgage payments and the like until the business is trading again
  • contact your regular suppliers to advise of your situation:if possible give them an approximate date when you will resume business. If necessary, work out alternative arrangements
  • contact your leasing company:discuss alternate payment arrangements
  • communicate with the landlord:make arrangements like temporarily deferring rental payments with an arrangement negotiated for the business to catch up with rent once trading resumes
  • contact your industry association:see what information is available. Industry associations can often assist with information on employment contracts, alternate suppliers, and consultants who may be able to help you manage the emergency
  • contact your clients/customers to advise of your situation:if possible give them an approximate date when you will resume business. If necessary, work out alternative arrangements – similar businesses in your network may be able to assist with supply of product or services.

Checklist supplied by Business Victoria

As a business that was affected by the power outage associated with recent flooding I know we will be updating our procedures. Two simple things we will be adding to our emergency procedures include:

  1. having a hard copy of all staff contact numbers (and appropriate emergency numbers)
  2. having a printed copy of all appointments in the diary so we can inform clients of disruptions (currently Outlook based).

Get prepared now by updating or developing an emergency procedure or checklist because you never know when the next emergency will occur.

Richard Kemp – Watts Price Accountants
E: richardk@wattsprice.com.au

The advice provided on this Article is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs.