2. Back-up your computer often
. In addition to backing up your critical data on your external hard drive, it is prudent to use an online back up service, as well. Information stored online can be accessed from any computer, wherever you are, as long as you have an internet connection.
3. Critical Contact Information
. Create a file containing the following information, copy the file onto a USB flash drive, and also print the file, just in case:
· Usernames and passwords for websites, bank accounts, etc.
· Physical and email addresses and all phone numbers of anyone you may need to contact during the evacuation period. You can use Plaxo
to create an online back up of your email contacts, and can access them from any computer using your username and password.
· Local website information. It is extremely hard to get information about what is happening back in your hometown once you have evacuated, especially if you do not live in a large metropolitan area. Websites of local newspapers and radio stations, United Way, 2-1-1 and Emergency Management Agencies provide a critical link to your hometown.
4. Computer Equipment
. Make a list of the equipment you MUST have to run your business and keep this list up-to-date. At a minimum, you will need your computer (desktop and/or laptop), monitor, mouse, keyboard, speakers, modem, router, external hard drive, office telephone, printer, scanner and all cords and connectors. Also include any software you may need that is not installed on your desktop or laptop. Don't forget chargers for any mobile equipment.
5. Digital Camera
. Your insurance company will need proof of the damage done to your business and a digital camera is especially useful for this purpose. Make sure that you have spare batteries. Rechargeable batteries work well, especially if you have a battery charger with a car charger attachment.
6. Paper Files
. Flag paper files that you will need to have with you to do business. Keep all of these files in one place so that it will be easy to grab them and go if you must evacuate quickly.
. Cell phone service is often restored more quickly than land lines. Text messages will work more reliably than actual cell calls in the early hours and days after a disaster because they use less bandwidth. Make sure that you have a cell phone to use, and a car charger to keep the cell phone operational until electricity is restored. If you think that you may need to use VoIP phone service once you are in your temporary location, you should purchase the necessary hardware before a disaster strikes. You can establish service with an internet phone company when you reach your temporary location if you find that this is your best telephone solution. You may also want to purchase a prepaid telephone calling card just in case.
8. Office Supplies
. Bring enough office supplies to last at least a month--paper, pens, post-it notes, calculator, stamps, envelopes, tape, paper clips, printer ink cartridges, etc. Also remember to bring check books and invoice forms, and other supplies needed for your accounting functions.
9. Documented Office Procedures
. Make sure that your business processes are documented in one place so that someone else can take care of basic business needs should you be injured or otherwise occupied. This documentation will also allow you to delegate tasks to others should you need to while you are in your temporary location.
10. Internet Access
. Most businesses use DSL or cable modems to access the internet. Before a disaster strikes, contact your ISP to get their local dial-up numbers. Also request the dial-up access numbers for your probable evacuation locations. You should also find out how to access your email online through your ISP in case you don't have access to your own computer.