After witnessing the devastating effects of the April 2016 earthquakes in Ecuador and Japan, it’s increasingly difficult to deny the importance of planning and preparing for earthquakes. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, over 60% of British Columbians live in a region where some of the largest earthquakes in the world occur. And, if you’re located in coastal areas, your chances of being affected increase. In the coastal state of California, the cost of earthquakes equates to over $60 billion in losses since 1971. The losses include the destruction of building and infrastructures, as well as losses in business operations.

In this second article in our three-part series for “Preparing Coastal Businesses for the Big 3,” we focus on what your business needs to do to effectively and efficiently prepare for an earthquake.

Here are a few things to consider when preparing for earthquakes in your emergency management and business continuity plans:

1.     Managing risks outside your office building

First, let’s look at what you can do outside of your office building. To enhance your awareness of what you could be dealing with should an earthquake occur, consider your geographic location. Are you located in an area where you’re office is at risk of a landslide? Does the building have brick façade? What can you do to mitigate hazards? By assessing earthquake-related hazards, you can plan and take advance action to limit the damage earthquakes may cause to your business.

2.      Managing risks inside your office

Second, let’s look at what you can do inside your business — it’s important to consider office preparatory steps in your plan. Preparation includes actions and procedures your personnel should take before an actual earthquake occurs. This includes fastening shelves to the wall to avoid the shelf from toppling, identifying safe places in each room where you can drop, cover and hold on until the shaking stops and ensuring your building is equipped with an office emergency kit. By organizing what you need and knowing the steps in advance, you can help mitigate the impact on your business.

3.      Another way to manage risk

Third, let’s talk about another way to manage risk — for example, purchasing an insurance policy for earthquakes. Earthquake coverage should be considered for your business, especially if you operate in coastal areas. Speak to your local insurance broker to understand what will be covered in the event of an earthquake. Knowing what is covered by your insurance offers peace of mind with assurances you’re covered for business interruption and certain physical damages.

These are just a few things to consider when developing your emergency management and business continuity plans. Does your business operate on the coast? Would you like some additional advice on how to prepare for an earthquake? Contact us today so we can get the conversation started.