Immediately following a disaster

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Disaster recovery toolkit

Immediately Following a Disaster

Within two days following a disaster

  • Contact all staff and establish their location and whether they are safe and well – ask whether they have been affected, will they be able to return to work, and if so when will they be able to return to work.
  • Undertake an initial damage assessment – if you are allowed to access your premises, develop a list of destroyed or damaged items. If possible, estimate their replacement costs. Include photos of the damage if possible. Do not commence cleaning up until you have contacted your insurer.
  • Contact your insurance company and discuss your damage assessment, your level of cover, how quickly your claim can be processed, how much and in what form a claim will be paid and when an insurance assessor will visit.
  • If safe to do so, salvage any remaining equipment and stock.

What to do within two days of a disaster checklist (PDF, see page 3)

Damage assessment template (PDF, see page 4)

Within the first week following a disaster – commencing your recovery

  • Commence actions that will assist you re-open your business when you are ready – make a list of key equipment, stock and other activities of the business that need to be operational for the business to reopen. If any key equipment and stock has been salvaged, ensure they are stored in a secure location.
  • Contact key customers and suppliers to advise that the business has been affected – let them know that you will notify them when you are ready to trade again and advise them if orders cannot be completed. Work with your customers to devise a strategy to assist them in continuing to receive the goods or services you usually provide.
  • Contact your lender and accountant.
  • Assess if you can undertake any temporary trading – do you have forward orders that you can complete or sales that can be made from salvaged stock.
  • Access any business information held in cloud-based software.
  • Consider contacting government agencies that may be helping affected businesses, such as the Australian Government’s Disaster Assist website.

Initial actions following a disaster checklist (PDF, see page 5)

Initial steps to restart your business when you are ready template (PDF, see page 6)

Within the first month following a disaster – further initial steps to aid recovery

If required, look for alternative temporary business premises. When assessing this requirement, not only does the premises need to be safe but you need to consider whether your staff, customers and suppliers will be able to access the alternative premises.

Review your business records – collect all business records that have been salvaged and ensure that copies kept off-site are retrievable. Where there are gaps in records, consider alternative sources to help you reconstruct your financials. You may like to talk to your accountant at this stage for assistance.

List of potential sources of business records (PDF, see page 7 and 8)