Business Disaster Planning Checklist

Planning Before a Hurricane or Other Disaster Arrives is Key to Business Survival. These guidelines help businesses develop a strategy to minimize damage, lost time and money.


Develop a business continuity / disaster recovery plan.

– Establish a disaster-recovery team of employees who know your business best, and assign responsibilities

for specific tasks.

– Identify your risks (kinds of disasters you’re most likely to experience) and make a detailed plan for how

you would respond to each type of disaster.

– Prioritize critical business functions and how quickly these must be recovered.

– Establish a disaster-recovery location where employees may work off-site and access critical back-up

systems, records and supplies.

– Obtain temporary housing for key employees, their families and pets.

– Update and test your plan at least annually.

– Communicate and meet with key stakeholders (banks, trading partners, vendors) of your company

annually to discuss critical components of your plan that would require their participation.

– Include contact information (for employees, customers, vendors, etc.) within the plan.

Alternative operational locations.

Determine which alternatives are available:

– A satellite or branch office of your business.

– The office of a business partner or even an employee.

– Home or hotel.

Backup site.

Equip your backup operations site with critical equipment, data files and supplies:

– Power generators.

– Computers and software.

– Critical computer data files (payroll, accounts payable and receivable, customer orders, inventory).

– Phones/radios/TVs.

– Equipment and spare parts.

– Vehicles, boats and spare parts.

– Digital cameras.

– Common supplies.

– Supplies unique to your business (order forms, contracts, etc.).

– Basic first aid/sanitary supplies, potable water and food.

Safeguard your property.

Is your property prepared to survive a hurricane or other disaster:

– Your building?

– Your equipment?

– Your computer systems?

– Your company vehicles?

– Your company records?

– Other company assets?

Contact information.

Do you have current and multiple contact information (e.g., home and cell phone numbers,

personal email addresses) for:

– Employees?

– Key customers?

– Important vendors, suppliers, business partners?

Insurance companies?

– Is contact information accessible electronically for fast access by all employees?


Do you have access to multiple and reliable methods of communicating with your employees:

– Satellite phones?

– BlackBerryTM?

– Internet?

– Email?

– Emergency toll-free hotline?

– Cell phones?

– Pagers?

– Two-way radios?

– Web site?

Employee preparation.

Make sure your employees know:

– Company emergency plan.

– Where they should relocate to work.

– How to use and have access to reliable methods of communication, such as satellite/cell phones, email,

voice mail, Internet, text messages, BlackBerryTM, PDAs.

– Their user IDs and passwords for critical company systems.

– How to perform multiple job functions to help ensure adequate support coverage during a disaster.

– How they will be notified to return to work.

– Benefits of direct deposit of payroll and subscribe to direct deposit.

– Emergency company housing options available for them and their family.

Customer preparation.

Make sure your key customers know:

– Your emergency contact information for sales and service support (publish on your Web site).

– Your backup business or store locations (publish on your Web site).

– What to expect from your company in the event of a prolonged disaster displacement.

– Alternate methods for placing orders.

– Alternate methods for sending invoice payments in the event of mail disruption.

Evacuation order.

When a mandatory evacuation is issued, be prepared to grab and leave with critical office

records and equipment:

– Company disaster-recovery plan and checklist.

Insurance policies and company contracts.

– Company checks, plus a list of all bank accounts, credit cards, ATM cards.

– Employee payroll and contact information.

– Desktop/laptop computers.

– Customer records, including orders in progress.

– Photographs/digital images of your business property.

– Post disaster contact info inside your business to alert emergency workers how to reach you.

– Secure your building and property. 2 of 3


Cash management.

Be prepared to meet emergency cash-flow needs:

– Fund bank accounts and keep enough cash on hand to handle immediate needs.

– Take your checkbook and credit cards in the event of an evacuation.

– Release direct deposit of payroll, if necessary.

– Use Internet banking services to monitor account activity, manage cash flow, initiate wires, pay bills.

– Issue commercial credit cards to essential personnel to cover emergency business expenses.

– Reduce dependency on paper checks and postal service to send and receive payments (consider using

direct-deposit/direct-debit electronic payments and remote deposit banking services).

– Contact your branch for any special coin/currency needs, if a threat is imminent.

– Make night depository drops as early as possible, if a threat is imminent.

– Be prepared to safeguard your own deposits in the event you are unable to reach a branch that can

process your transactions (consider using remote deposit banking services).

Post-disaster recovery procedures.

– Consider how your post-disaster business may differ from today.

– Plan whom you will want to contact and when.

– Assign specific tasks to responsible employees.

– Track progress and effectiveness.

– Document lessons learned and best practices.

For more business continuity planning tips, visit the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Web site at

To access a copy of this business disaster planning checklist, go to

Products and services offered by Capital One, N.A., Member FDIC.
©2010 Capital One. Capital One is a federally-
registered service mark. All rights reserved.


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