Natural disasters happen all the time. This time of year the threat of a hurricane is the greatest. There isn’t much time to prepare once one is predicted to hit your area. Have you considered what would happen if a major hurricane hit your area and affected your business? The outcome could be catastrophic to your employees and your business. Take the initiative and be ready now that hurricane season has started. Creating a list of guidelines will help ensure you and your employees know exactly what procedures to follow in the event of a hurricane or other type of catastrophic event. Are you prepared? If there you are uncertain about your preparedness here are few tips to strengthen your plan. Hope you enjoy Cathy’s Tuesday Tip! ~Cathy
Prepare Your Property
Preparing your business property is a year-round process. Ensure that your property (the building that contains your business) is safe from flying debris and falling objects. This can be done by covering all external windows with plywood or shutters and keeping all branches that may hang trimmed. Also, make sure your roof is in good condition. If a hurricane is predicted to hit your area you may want to secure all workstations and cabinets. If you are located in an area prone to flooding setting up sandbags outside on doors will be a helpful preventative measure. Make sure all the utilities that can be turned off are turned off.
Preparing Your Equipment, Documents, and Information
Preparing all essential records is imperative. Take an inventory of your business, all equipment, furnishings, and computers. It can be with paper and pencil or photos can be taken. Also, take pictures of your building. Adjusters will appreciate it when they are totaling your loss. Back up all of your digital documents, twice. If you can remove hard drives remove them. Send all of the digital backups and removable hard drives off-site to ensure that business can be restored with no problem. Even after a disaster business must go on seemingly as normal. If you keep physical information, box it up and move it as well.
Establish a line of communication between yourself and your employees by having web-based emails for emergency use. Phone lines go down or can become clogged by overuse. Company email systems and local internet and cable providers are not reliable. Having a checklist will help protect your employees, not only can these guidelines protect them while at work but also at home. Here is an example of a preparedness checklist from hurricansafety.org that could act as a template for your business’s needs.
- Battery operated radio or television
- Non-perishable three-day food supply for you and your employees
- Three day supply of water for you and your employees (One gallon of water per person, per day)
- Coolers and containers for water and washing
- Blankets, pillows, cots, and chairs
- First Aid Kit and first aid manual
- Flashlights, batteries, light-sticks
- Toolkit (basic tools, gloves, etc.)
- Camera and film for documenting damages
- Whistle/signal flare to signal for help
- Tarps, plastic bags, duct tape
- Cleaning supplies, including mops, towels and garbage cans
- Smoke alarms and fire extinguishers
- Electric generator
- Gas for vehicles, generators and other equipment
- Cash, ATM cards, credit cards proper identification
- Emergency contact information such as the nearest hospital and police, along with:
- Life safety issues: 9-1-1
- Small Business Administration (SBA): 1-800-359-2227
- FEMA Tele-registration hot-line: 1-800-462-9029
- Insurance company and agent’s contact information
In the unfortunate event that you are in the path of a hurricane or maybe a similar catastrophic event, these tips could be helpful for the survival of your business. For more information about your business’ survival guide, download FEMA’s Business Toolkit or FEMA’s “Every Business Should Have a Plan” booklet for tips and further examples of steps you can take to prepare your business.
I hope you enjoyed Cathy’s Tuesday Tip this week. To view more of Cathy’s Tuesday Tips, visit our blog.