How a Disaster Recovery Hotline Could Save Your Business

A while back we talked about the important link between emergency medical services (EMS) and business continuity planning. Cleary, when something bad happens, whether it’s human-caused or a natural disaster, safety is the top priority. That’s why a good disaster recovery plan that outlines individual roles during an event or disaster, what types of disruptions are likely to happen, and procedures for responding are key to smart business. But once people are out of danger, what’s the best way to handle emergency services for your business and all of its assets? The relationships you have with contractors or emergency response and restoration (ERR) providers can make a huge difference in saving important buildings and equipment and getting things back to normal as quickly as possible. This blog post explores why you should set up your business emergency network before you actually need it. 

You Kept Everyone Safe: Now What About Your Business?

The unexpected is almost always happening somewhere. A burst pipe that is spilling thousands of gallons of water into nearby businesses. A fire that consumes part of a hotel or shopping center. A tornado that takes out part of an office park. If nearby businesses have planned correctly and EMS responded quickly, hopefully employees and customers are all safe. But as soon as the danger to people is over, the danger to ongoing business operations is only beginning. Hits to revenue add up quickly with every day that doors are closed, so it’s important to get moving on restoration as quickly as possible. Effective EMS for your business, however, isn’t a given. You have to do some homework and have the right relationships in place with contractors and ERR providers. Otherwise, you may waste days or weeks simply trying to line up the right help.

Five Key Questions for Evaluating Vendor Options

Ideally, after a disaster has taken place, you want to have a restoration provider’s number you can call as soon as it’s safe so they can begin assessing damage, salvaging assets and coordinating a response ASAP. But how can you tell if a provider will be able to handle the damage to your business? Here are five questions that are important to consider while you are vetting your options:

  1. How reputable is the company? Questions about size, scalability and expertise are all important, but the question of reputation should be at the top of the list. A good safety record can be a key indicator for the quality of a restoration company because it demonstrates a commitment to safety and doing the job right, versus cutting corners just for the sake of profit. 
  2. What type of manpower and equipment does the company have? As you look at vendors, carefully consider the type of disasters that are likely to happen in your area and the size of your buildings and operations. This question is critical in the case of an areawide disaster as your business will be competing with others for scarce resources. The vendor you choose should be able to demonstrate an ability to effectively support a business of your size and provide examples (or case studies) of experience with previous large scale events.
  3. How quickly can the company respond? When a disaster like a major fire or flood strikes, it’s important to have someone onsite as soon as it’s safe to begin coordinating the business restoration efforts. It’s important to consider where they have equipment and personnel located as well as their scalability based on partnerships with other specialized vendors.
  4. How does the company communicate progress? Restoration projects are typically complicated and involve lots of moving parts. That’s why you need to be sure that your provider will keep you, your insurers and your brokers up to date on repairs, expenses being incurred and changes to timelines all throughout the repair process.
  5. Is pricing in line with industry norms? Pricing can be tricky for large restoration projects because of unexpected challenges, such as asbestos or mold. Be sure that the provider you choose has a reputation for providing accurate estimates and sticking to them, as well as communicating unforeseen circumstances quickly. 

Speed Dial for Restoration Help Can Make All The Difference

Evaluating restoration vendors and asking the above questions pre-loss will enable you to establish a relationship with a “speed dial” option. That way, just like EMS, you won’t have to stress about who to call when you are under intense pressure. Instead, you can focus immediately on the rebuilding process and minimizing business interruption—which is key to limiting losses and keeping your doors open for business.