Published On: Tuesday, 08 August 2017

9 Tips for Business Owners Forced to Evacuate

9 Tips for Business Owners Forced to Evacuate

- Deb McClelland is the executive director of the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce. She can be reached email at

KAMLOOPS - As I write this month’s column we have been facing a significant crisis in BC. 40,000 residents have been displaced and are arriving on the doorsteps of those communities which are fortunate enough to not be experiencing wildfires.

In trying times, we see the best in people, residents, businesses and even evacuees. Our reception centres are staffed twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week by volunteers who put their lives on hold to care for strangers. As a community we rally around those affected, to support each other.

We all step up our donations to food banks, charities and non-profits. We do this not because we have to; because we are united in our belief that strong communities stand together in the tough times. As we work our way through this particularly challenging summer, I am so proud of our members and citizens who give so much.

Here are nine tips for Business Owners forced to evacuate:

  1. Turn off and unplug all non-essential appliances and equipment. Fires can cause brownouts, outages or power spikes. Unplugging your equipment will save the equipment from failing and potentially costly repairs when you return.
  2. Let your insurance company know you are shuttering your business and evacuating. It’s a good idea to start a claim even if you have to stop it later, to get the process started.
  3. Have an alternate phone number and stop as much letter mail as possible until the crisis has ended. If you can set up online accounts do so, as it makes all your account information accessible no matter where you are.
  4. Keep all essential information handy, such as account numbers, insurance contacts, passports, and statements. This allows you to have core information if and when you need it.
  5. Think about privacy. When you are registering for assistance ask about how your information will be used and who will have access. Protect all non-essential information.
  6. Have a plan to contact staff and contractors. This includes alternate phone numbers and contacts. As soon as you close, contact all employees and advise them of your longer term plan.
  7. Have a longer term plan. If an incident were to occur, what will you need to have, know and do? Then, when we are allowed back in to reopen, what process will you follow to get the doors re-opened?
  8. Take care of yourself and your business first. A rule of first responders is to take care of yourself, so you are able to help others.
  9. Save only the important things. It’s tempting to try and save everything. Instead assess what is difficult to replace; what will you really need to re-open. Take these items before anything else.

Finally, on a more positive note: the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards are coming up on October 21st. This year we received 722 nominations for 181 businesses in the Kamloops area. Coming up on September 7th, we will be making the nominee announcement for the Awards. Tickets for this premier business event go on sale on September 8th and sell out every year.

Watch our website for more information: