In a situation where an organization's office or program space becomes unavailable, the organization should consult its list of potential recovery sites and establish which one is the most appropriate. In the case of a large-scale disaster, not all sites will be available. The crisis team should examine factors such as accessibility to clients, available space, cost, and time involved in making arrangements to use the location. Consider whether you will be able to return to your previous office or program space and how long it might take to do so. Which of your recovery locations would be available for that much time?
After a recovery location has been selected:
- Relocate undamaged equipment.
- Replace damaged equipment that is necessary to resuming operations. Consider leasing or borrowing equipment if possible.
- The team should develop and implement a communications plan to inform staff, volunteers, clients, and vendors about the new location.
- If services will not be immediately resumed, make sure that this information is disseminated through the media, a phone tree, and/or a website.
- Arrange for call forwarding to the new site.
- Be sure to maintain payroll.
- If the relocation is required because of damage to office space or equipment, be sure to contact your insurer and inform them of the situation.
- Recover critical documents, digital files, and contact information and make sure to bring them with you to the recovery location.
When the loss of office space is due to a large-scale natural disaster, a few additional steps will need to be taken:
- Reassess the level of need for your services. Times of disaster can radically shift the priority needs of clients. Consider a temporary shift in activities or a break from operating.
- Determine if any key suppliers are still operational. If not, find alternate suppliers for necessary materials.
- Determine if staff requires transportation to your location.
- Determine if staff needs emergency housing.
The U.S. Small Business Association provides disaster assistance for all types of organizations.
Click here to visit the U.S Small Business Administration's disaster assistance fact sheet.
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