Riots and civil disturbances can lead to widespread chaos and destruction. Rioters often loot businesses, damage or destroy property, and set fires. No matter how large or small your business is or where it’s located, you should create a plan so members of your team will know how to prepare for and respond to a civil disturbance.
Secure the Building and Valuable Property
Sometimes a riot or civil disturbance begins suddenly, but in other cases, there are warning signs before unrest breaks out. If tensions are flaring and you have reason to suspect that a riot may occur, or if you have received warnings to that effect from local officials, use whatever time you have to secure your business to the best of your ability.
Remove valuables and items that rioters would be likely to steal. Those may include electronics, jewelry, liquor, and cigarettes. If you have the time and means, move them to a secure location out of the area where a riot may occur.
Rioters often enter businesses after smashing large display windows. If your business doesn’t have roll-down gates that cover windows, board up windows to keep rioters out, if you have the time and resources. Secure all exterior doors.
Make Sure You Have Copies of Vital Records
A riot can damage or destroy important records. Without copies of those records, it may be difficult or impossible to prove that items in your inventory were stolen or destroyed. That may prevent you from receiving the insurance compensation you deserve. Routinely back up records related to inventory and other essential functions at an off-site location so you will have access to those files, even if your building is severely damaged or destroyed in a civil disturbance.
Communicate and Coordinate with Local Authorities
Follow instructions from the local police department. They may advise you to evacuate the building or instruct you to shelter in place.
In a chaotic situation, firefighters may not be able to respond quickly if your building is set ablaze. Make sure that your sprinkler system will work if you need it. Lock outside sprinkler control valves so rioters won’t be able to tamper with them. Place fire extinguishers strategically throughout the building so they will be accessible if needed.
Prepare for the possibility that phone service may be disrupted. Make sure that you have other forms of communication, such as walkie-talkies and battery-powered radios, available.
Review Your Insurance Coverage
It’s important to review your business insurance coverage on a regular basis. Your company’s needs may change, and you have to make sure that your policy will provide you with an appropriate level of coverage.
If you’re concerned about high rates or would like to discuss your options, contact Petruzelo Insurance. We can help you choose the right coverage for your business and get you quotes from several top carriers.