Seems every time you turn on the news there’s a natural disaster occurring somewhere. I don’t know about you, but I’m finding that it’s easier to imagine it happening to our business, too.

What if it took you an entire day, or maybe several days over the course of a month, to put a really good disaster plan in place for your HVAC business? Would it be time well spent?

If for no other reason, you need an emergency plan to minimize interruption to your business. But, a backup plan is also a personal service to yourself, to your employees and to your customers. Your efforts can keep your employees safe and help them stay connected to loved ones. It also gets them back to work more quickly, with minimal interruption to their income. For your customers and community, your efforts could help provide essential services in restoring heating and cooling to homes, hospitals and other disaster relief centers.

The other day I came across some testimonials at that went beyond inspiration and spurred me to action. It was fascinating to read first-person accounts from businesses that had planned for, and then successfully navigated, a disaster. Their stories would have been totally different had they not taken the time to consider what a disaster could mean in terms of cost to their earnings and employees.

Check out this these stories from businesses that did have disaster plans in place before disaster struck: Their stories motivated me to augment my own plans at work and at home. They’re all good, but I particularly liked the ones by Aeneas, Childs Capital, Compucast Interactive and Munro Inc.

It is interesting that many had approached disaster planning as a way to preserve their business, but in the aftermath they emphasized the humanitarian aspect of what they could accomplish by being prepared. The emergency plans of dry cleaners, communications providers and bakers served their employees and communities. As an HVAC professional, you’re in the position to provide that kind of help, but only if you have a plan!

Planning ahead is definitely a service to your community. As Bill Munro of Munro Inc. put it, “If businesses are able to recover, the local economy is able to come back.” Businesses and individuals that aren’t completely thrown by a disaster will be on their feet again sooner – taking care of their own business, and helping out others.

I’ll admit that while we do have an “emergency team” in place and planning for evacuation complete, there’s more to be done and looking at the plan on a consistent basis is helping bring new and fresh ideas to keeping our business and employees safe. What about you? Do you have a plan in place?