Many companies — even some of the largest corporations — do not have adequate crisis management plans in place, said Scott Sobel, president of the District-based crisis management firm Media & Communications Strategies.

Here are his suggestions to business owners about how to create a contingency plan for unexpected events:

1. Sit down with employees, lawyers and even members of your industry associations, and brainstorm possible crisis scenarios. Then come up with a list of what would need to be done in each case.

2. Make sure you are aware of the limitations of your business interruption insurance.

3. Have statements in place that you can send to clients, employees and customers over social media and your Web site informing them of what’s happening. The same applies if you need to close your doors — hang a sign explaining the situation.

4. Create an emergency contact list of phone numbers and e-mail addresses so the company decision makers can be reached immediately 24/7.

5. Make sure you know the first responders in your vicinity and develop relationships.

6. Once the crisis is over, reach out to those important customers and stakeholders in your business and thank them for their patience.

7. If your business is involved in something that could draw media interest, you should have a media relations plan in place. Designate a spokesperson.

— Abha Bhattarai