The 2017 hurricane season was among the most damaging on record, with four hurricanes hitting the United States; Harvey, Irma, Jose and Maria. According to FEMA and Dun & Bradstreet, 41 counties with 565,043 businesses were potentially impacted by Hurricane Harvey and 2,148,134 by Hurricane Irma.
As of June 1st, Hurricane season is now officially underway. According to FEMA, about 40% of small businesses that close because of a hurricane fail to reopen. To avoid devastating setbacks to your business, it’s important to be prepared so that you, your employees and your facilities are protected. Keep these tips top of mind to be sure your business is ready to tackle the storm and thrive afterward.
As Always, Safety First
Hold routine drills for employees and have a hurricane emergency kit packed and easily accessible. For more tips on safety and what to pack in your emergency kit, visit weather.gov.
Educate Your Team
Frequent informational sessions and trainings about what to do and expect from a hurricane are helpful reminders to everyone, and will ensure everyone responds correctly before, during and after the storm. Remind your team to sign up for your community’s warning system and pay attention to emergency alerts. Have an evacuation and shelter plan for your business in place.
Have a reliable contact list for all employees and develop a plan to let them know when the office is closing and reopening. The same goes for customers. Keep your clients in the know and provide status updates as best you can. Remind everyone to take necessary safety measures.
Protect Your Business and Your Documents
Inspect your buildings regularly and make all necessary repairs promptly. Trying to make repairs when a storm is incoming can be challenging and costly. If a storm is in the forecast, move furniture and equipment away from the windows if possible and turn off the electricity and gas to the building.
If you are working in a mobile office, consider having your supplier add anchors now, if you don’t already have them, as they may not be able to install anchors or pick up the building before a storm hits.
Review your insurance policy now so you know what is covered. Make any changes in a timely manner so the correct coverage is in place before you need it. Insurance companies will not sell policies after a storm has been named.
Back up crucial business documents at regular intervals so that valuable data is not lost and you can pick up where you left off.
For more information on any natural disaster, visit ready.gov.