Emergency Contacts: A Key Part of Risk Management for Self-Storage and Other Businesses
Copyright 2014 by Virgo Publishing.
Posted on: 10/22/2010


By Scott Brothers

As a self-storage operator, you’re called upon to wear many different hats. When your job includes overseeing personnel, sales, marketing, technology, accounting and most everything else, risk management sometimes gets pushed off the table. This can be overwhelming to manage. Perhaps you’ve considered looking for someone to advise you on the critical issues of running your business. So, who are you going to call?  

The risk-management process includes such things as how to handle a lost supplier, replace a key employee and hundreds of other choices you might be called upon to make during the lifetime of your business. John O’Connor, vice president of product and underwriting at Travelers’ Select Accounts, says a majority of small-business owners spend most of their time on operational risks—keeping the day-to-day operations open and, hopefully, profitable.

Along with backup computer data and other crucial information that should be kept off premises, owners should also keep a list of the following emergency contacts on the premises as well as in a separate location:

  • Employees
  • Fire
  • Police
  • Utility companies (water, electric and telephone)

For individuals, be sure to include fixed-location numbers outside home and cell-phone numbers. This way, when utility services are compromised, you’ll still have the ability to make contact.

Be sure to show your concern for employee family members as well as your employees. In addition to maintaining employee addresses and phone numbers, ask these questions:

  • Do you have private transportation?
  • Do you carpool or use public transportation?
  • Do you have pets?
  • Have you made arrangements for someone to care for your pets in the event of a personal or family emergency?
  • Does any member of your household have special health needs?
  • Do you or any member of your household require critical medications?

Take a moment to review or make a list of at least the information in the table below so you or someone given the responsibility on your behalf can contact the appropriate parties when situations arise.

Emergency Contacts



Primary Phone Number

Emergency Phone Number




Insurance Agent

Equipment Repair

Financial Institution (Bank)


Other (Describe)

Equally important, make sure your employees and local authorities know how to contact you in the event an emergency occurs at your business when you’re away. Provide them with your business name, location, manager and owner’s name, business phone, home-phone and cell-phone number. In the event you cannot be reached, you should also provide an alternate contact with the person’s name, position, business phone, home and cell phone. Be sure to also include any special instructions during extended periods of time when you’ll be unavailable.

Plan for the Unexpected

Business-continuity plans are also essential. The threat of your business not reopening after a disaster or failing outright may very well rest upon how well you plan and, more important, how well you implement that plan. Business owners need to prepare for a lot more than just a major disaster such as a hurricane. You’ll need a different plan for a fire in your building, if the water main breaks, or if there’s a pandemic. Each emergency requires a plan specific to the situation and, in many cases, requires different responses.

According to a recent survey conducted by Travelers during America’s Small Business Summit in Washington, D.C., consumers who are looking for choices and an adviser with critical planning issues most often turn to their attorney (28 percent) and their insurance agent (10 percent). Other options include your CPA, business-association members and others in your same profession. A few of the survey participants said they couldn’t rely on anyone, so they conducted their own research via the Internet.

Smart business owners know it’s important to plan for the unexpected to ensure protection for the future. The old saying, “If you’re failing to plan, you’re planning to fail,” easily becomes reality when you don’t have adequate insurance coverage and a business continuity plan in place that’s ready to implement on a moment’s notice.

Scott Brothers is president and CEO of Joplin, Mo.-based The Insurancenter. The company has been insuring the car-care industry since 1986, and is a writer of carwash insurance nationwide. For more information, call 800.444.8675; e-mail cwspecialists@carwashinsurance.com ; visit www.carwashinsurance.com .