Once you know what damage you have sustained, you can make the decision to either repair or rebuild your business.
If you decide to rebuild, you'll need to talk to a builder as soon as possible, as you may find they are in high demand. Talk to your local council about whether you will need any planning permits. You may also need to talk to your accountant or tax office about the tax treatment of the newly built/repaired buildings or infrastructure.
Part of being an adaptable business is learning from a crisis. After an emergency there may be an opportunity to make changes in the way you operate to avoid further damage in the future. For example, when rebuilding you can use more flood, fire or earthquake resistant construction materials.
Clean up and restore
Whether it was a fire, flood, cyclone, earthquake, tsunami or another type of natural disaster, the clean up can be quite substantial. Often there are significant health concerns with revisiting the area, so ensure you protect yourself, your employees and any volunteers during a clean up. Local authorities such as the State Emergency Services (SES) and Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) agency can help provide you with the information you need to protect yourself and any volunteers during the clean up effort.
During the clean up, your initial impact assessment will be able to guide you as to what is salvageable and can be kept, and what can be thrown away or recycled. You'll need to communicate your plans to any helpers, to avoid any crucial items becoming lost.
Unfortunately, in the wake of a disaster protecting what's left of your assets from looters may become essential. If a number of businesses are located in close proximity, you could work out a shared security arrangement.
Seek help from the community
In the event of a disaster a whole community may be affected. Often getting together with your local businesses and community leaders can help develop innovative solutions to rebuild the whole community. For example, some local councils arrange free temporary business centres with computers, phones and internet access to help businesses get back on their feet.
Recover your information systems
If you have sustained damage to your systems, consider if you need to purchase replacement information systems (including computers, peripherals and software). Retrieve any data backups you have offsite and restore or recreate your systems. If your backups were also damaged, you may consider having a professional data recovery specialist to recover any data from your damaged computer. You may be surprised what is recoverable.
What to do...
- Contact the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) emergency support information line on 1800 806 218 for specific tax advice.
- Speak to your local council about any applicable planning permits and for disaster-related assistance including possible temporary business centres. For contact details, look up your local council in our Directory of government & business associations.
- Use our Business recovery checklist for a quick reference of all the steps you should consider when recovering from an emergency event.