The unfortunate reality of life is that emergencies happen. Emergencies are not limited to damage of our homes but can extend to our businesses as well. This is why it is crucial to research and create a plan in case of emergency. According to the Institute for Business and Home Safety, an estimated 25 percent of businesses don’t open again after a major disaster. Here are a few tips on how to be prepared for emergencies as a business owner so you don’t end up in the 25%.

One of the first things you can do as a business owner to prepare for emergencies is to focus on prevention. Take time to think through what emergencies could come your way and determine if there are ways to limit, or even prevent, these emergencies from happening. A little bit of time and money spent on prevention can be a huge time and money savings in the long run.

Unfortunately, not all emergencies can be avoided so while you want to spend time on prevention it is also important to prepare for the unexpected emergencies that may come your way. It is incredibly prudent to choose your insurance coverage carefully. Look over all of your options and then make sure you know what your plan does and does not cover. Be sure to create all disaster plans and policies required by your insurance company so you aren’t left unprotected if disaster strikes.

As you begin to create emergency plans of action be sure to focus on disasters that pose a realistic risk to your small business. If your business is located in Montana you won’t need to prepare for a potential hurricane, and if your business is located in California you likely won’t need to prepare for a potential tornado. Be aware of the disasters that can realistically happen where your business is located and then take the time to create a checklist and plan for those disasters. This can include identifying important internal resources, meeting with local governments and agencies, and being aware of codes and regulations so that you don’t miss important details when creating the plan.

One thing you want to make sure of when you plan is a system for protecting vital business records and regularly creating backup copies of your data and programs. You don’t want to just focus your attention on how to prepare the physical location of your business against disaster, but you also want to prepare critical business records and information. Further, having resources on hand can be life saving for you, your business, and your employees. Having products like ready to eat meals, water, and first aid supplies can become priceless in those desperate times.

Implementing these tips can help you prepare for an emergency as a business owner and benefit not only your personal business, but your family, community, and employees.