Clean up and repairs

During the clean up phase after a crisis event, it's important to remember your responsibilities to your staff and others on site under health and safety legislation.

You must ensure that you protect them from potential hazards or risks whilst they assist you to clean up damaged or destroyed property and equipment in an effort to restore your business.

In addition, it's important to remember to contact your insurer before commencing clean up operations.

WorkSafe Victoria

WorkSafe Victoria has prepared a bushfire recovery fact sheet that provides advice for handling hazards you may encounter when searching through or cleaning up fire affected areas.

Consumer Affairs Victoria

Consumer Affairs Victoria can also provide advice to help with clean up, repairs and building issues in a disaster, such as a storm, flood, bushfire or earthquake. This includes advice of travelling con men, special laws for emergency repairs and building issues.

Arrange security

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.

Recover your IT systems

If you have sustained damage to your Information Technology (IT) systems, consider if you need to purchase replacement systems such as computers, accessories and software.

The next step is to retrieve any data backups you have offsite and restore or recreate your systems. If your backups were also damaged, consider having a professional data recovery specialist to recover any data from your damaged computer. You may be surprised what is recoverable.

Consider developing an IT Disaster Recovery Plan for next time and document it as part of your business continuity plan.

This includes compiling an inventory of hardware such as:

  • servers
  • desktops
  • laptops
  • wireless devices
  • software applications
  • data

Deal with insurance

After a crisis event, remember to contact your insurance provider before you begin clean up operations. This will also help in starting the claims process as soon as possible.

If your home or business property is damaged from a storm conduct temporary repairs only to prevent further damage. Do not conduct major repairs before contacting your insurer. Don't be concerned if your insurance documents have been lost or damaged. Insurance companies keep records electronically and only require the policy holder's name and address in order to locate a policy.

If your assets, such as furniture, clothing or carpets are damaged because of an insurable event, remove these items as part of a general clean-up. If possible they should be kept in a safe location so they can be inspected as part of the claims process if necessary.

Insurance policies will vary so it's important to check with your insurer to determine whether the following options are available under your policy:

  • If you live in a rural area, the option to repair fences after a natural disaster
  • The cost of removing debris from your home or business if destroyed by wind storms or cyclones. Check with your insurer before removing and arranging for removal
  • Temporary accommodation costs (conditions may apply)
  • Spoilage of food in fridges and freezes due to a power failure. Insurers have a fixed limit for food, product or perishable goods spoilage.