Specific Hazards


Taking simple, cost-effective actions can be a first step in preparing your business for disaster resilience. Understanding the specific hazards your business faces in the location(s) it operates, and the likely business impacts, can help you identify and prioritize your critical actions to prepare for business continuity during a disruption. There are also simple actions to take immediately. Click on each area below to expand the information on tips for addressing the most likely specific hazards in our region.

For a detailed view of specific hazards near your location, take a look at the interactive hazard mitigation map from the California Office of Emergency Services. This mapping service is provided by Cal OES to allow users to easily make hazard maps for mitigation planning.

Action Steps for Any Type of Disaster

– Review your insurance coverage; make sure you’re protected against any “high priority” disasters in your local area.
– Secure a line of credit (or two!) to be tapped during an emergency.
– Ready your emergency kits. Include a grab-and-go folder/box of essential files, documents, and removable storage devices such as USB stick or back-up drive.
– Collect and store primary and alternate phone numbers for key contacts in multiple locations: employees, customers, suppliers.
– Establish emergency procedures and communications plans
– Prepare and communicate your key messages:
o We’re open for business
o We’re operating from an alternate location at xx
o We’re closed until xx date
o We’re here to help the community with xx

– Have a plan for how to get your message out if primary communications channels are interrupted.
– Consider cloud-based data backup services, or create your own data backups and store in multiple locations.

Flood Preparedness Checklist

– Take necessary steps to prevent the release of dangerous chemicals that might be stored on your property; locate gas main and electrical shut-offs and know how to turn them off. Train employees to do the same.
– Maintain an accurate inventory of product and assets on site at your facility.
– Have plugs ready for use to prevent floodwater from backing up into sewer drains, or install flood vents or flood proof barriers.
– Identify critical hardware and assets that should be taken with you in the event of a flood evacuation.
– Elevate your furnace, water heater, servers, electric panel and other critical equipment if susceptible to flooding.

Wildfire Preparedness Checklist

– Create 100 feet of “defensible space” around your structures.
– Keep an adequate number of fire extinguishers in strategic locations (near loading docks and waste collection areas, for example) and maintain them properly.
– Train key employees and their backups on how to use extinguishers correctly.
– Have appropriate tools such as rakes, axes, saws, buckets and shovels available to control small fires while waiting for emergency personnel to arrive.
– Consider maintaining a water supply at your facility to control small fires until emergency personnel arrive. Installing a water tank might be an options or alternatively installing hoses and pumps to draw from an existing swimming pool, pond, river or lake.
– Designate a shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level; notify employees of the designated shelter location.

Drought Preparedness Checklist from http://www.scwa.ca.gov/business/

– Conservation is key: identify water conservation goals for business operations.
– Awareness: know how much water your business uses and ensure employees understand conservation goals.
– Find leaks: monitor daily usage and identify sudden spikes in daily usage
– Eliminate unnecessary use: identify tasks that could be readily accomplished with less water. For example, could floors be swept instead of hosed down?
– Install efficient equipment: which of these might be feasibly installed in your business?:
o Bathroom, kitchen faucet aerators
o Low-flow showerheads
o On-off valves on showerheads or hoses
o Ultra high efficiency toilets and urinals
o Water efficient chillers
o High efficiency washing machines
o Water efficient commercial dishwasher
o Air-cooled ice machines
o Low- flow pre-rinse spray valves for food service operators

Extreme Heat Preparedness Checklist

– Develop a plan to work alternate schedules on extreme heat days, if possible, to reduce demand on the electric grid at peak power times (typically 1:00 PM through 4:00 PM).
– Shift high-energy demand machinery/processes to early morning/late afternoon.
– Turn up the temperature setting and allow a more casual dress code.
– Inform staff how to take steps to reduce energy demand.
– Building owners can follow five steps to save energy in summer:
o Measure the energy use of your building(s) and set an energy savings goal.
o Inspect cooling system equipment now and perform monthly maintenance.
o Turn back, or turn off cooling equipment when not needed.
o Get employees involved in savings goals.
o Improve lighting systems to reduce energy use.