Ten Things You Can Do To Protect Your Practice

July 18, 2013

Extreme weather events are increasingly the stuff of news headlines. In 2011, a record of 14 separate disasters struck the U.S., each costing a billion dollars or more in damages.1 2012 is currently on record as having the most extreme temperatures of any year since such recordkeeping began in 1910.2 2013 is no different with February’s massive blizzard in the Northeast, which dumped more than 3 feet of snow in some areas, causing widespread outages. At the same time, a tornado, believed to have reached three-quarters of a mile in diameter at times, wrecked hundreds of homes and business in Mississippi and Alabama.

Unpredictable weather seems to be the new norm. Have you thought about how this might affect your practice? Is your practice prepared? Here are 10 tips on what you can do to prepare for a weather related disaster before it strikes.

Ten Things Your Practice Can Do To Prepare

Know Your Risks

 1.   Know the weather trends.
Identify the types of weather events to which your practice may be vulnerable. Visit ready.gov/today and select your state for information and preparedness tips on the natural hazards in your area.
 2.   Identify your business-critical assets and operations.
List essential equipment, medications, services and facilities. Make sure to include utility services such as electricity, water, gas and transportation. Download the Risk Assessment Table.
 3.   Assess the potential impact.
Pinpoint the emergencies that could occur as a result of an extreme weather event. Identify how each would affect your employees, your property and the critical aspects of your practice. Download the Business Impact Analysis Worksheet.
 4.   Understand your insurance coverage.
Review and update your insurance annually with your insurance agent. Keep insurance information and contact names and numbers in a safe place in case of an emergency.

Focus on Prevention

 5.   Secure and protect your building.
Do everything you can to prevent the possible emergencies you've identified. Install prevention and safety systems and check them regularly.
 6.   Protect vital business records.
Keep your most important documents in a safe that has been tested and listed by UL (Underwriters Laboratories) as being resistant to fire, heat, burglary tools and torches.
 7.   Back up data and software daily.
This can help speed recovery from data loss or hardware failure. Send back-up copies to a location separate from your primary facility at least once a week.

Develop a Plan — and Keep It Up to Date

 8.   Create an emergency response plan.
Establish procedures for communicating an emergency to your employees, shutting down operations, fighting fires, protecting vital records and evacuating the premises. Download the Emergency Response Plan Template.
 9.   Create a business continuity plan.
A business continuity plan spells out how you'll restore operations once an event has passed. Download the Business Continuity Plan Worksheet.
 10.   Create an emergency kit and list of contact numbers.
Include essential items such as first aid supplies, flashlights, tool kit, extra batteries, and bottled water. Make sure the kit is easy to access during an emergency. Download the Emergency Kit Checklist.

Learn more about extreme weather and the impact it can have on your medical practice.

For more information on business insurance coverage for your practice, speak with a Hartford representative at 1-800-417-8054 or visit TheHartford.com/AMAI.

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1 "2011 a Year of Climate Extremes in the United States," National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), January 19, 2012

2 National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), as of September 1, 2012.

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