9 strategies for disaster preparation

9 strategies for disaster preparation

Can your veterinary practice withstand the elements?
Sep 01, 2008

You can't anticipate earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, and fires, but you can firm up your relationships with locals and your insurance company to make sure you'll have backup when bad things happen. These are the best ways to prepare for the unexpected:

1. Buy insurance. Business interruption coverage is a must for any practice that doesn't operate around the clock. For six to 24 months, it pays the difference between what the practice earns in revenue and what it could have earned before a disaster. Also, check your building contents coverage amounts regularly and always update after you buy new equipment.

2. Seek out a public insurance adjustor. Insurance companies have their own interests primarily in mind when they judge damage. Find a public adjustor who can ensure you receive what your policy says you deserve.

3. Appraise your practice. An appraisal within the last two years along with a physical inventory of your hard assets is very valuable in maximizing and substantiating claims for insurance.

4. Back up your computer system off-site. You can always buy more drugs, medical supplies, and equipment, and you can even rebuild your hospital. But if you don't have your computer records, how will you communicate with clients and keep providing service to their pets? If you don't have financial records, how can you pay your bills and process payroll? Maintain off-site copies of all your computer records.

5. Generate staff goodwill. Your team will rally around you and help you through incredibly difficult periods—if they know you care about them and the pets you treat. Strive to keep your reservoir of goodwill full.

6. Stay connected to your colleagues. Don't become a recluse. Be part of your community's network of veterinary helping hands for other practices. You never know when tragedy will strike and you'll need all the help you can muster.

7. Foster good client relationships. When clients can see you care about their pets, you'll be surprised at how they'll support you in times of trouble.

8. Be neighborly. Don't be a stranger to nearby business owners and their employees. In times of need, those closest to your practice will be the most helpful after a disaster.

9. Make a good impression. Get active—and stay active—in the community and with local pet-related activities. Encourage your team members to do the same. It's important to show your clients, your staff, and your neighbors in the clinic and in public that you truly care about your chosen profession.