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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Is Your Business Ready for Hurricane Season?

5/6/2022 (Permalink)

emergency plan Save money and save your business by addressing risks before the impending threat of a hurricane.

The 2022 hurricane season is just around the corner. You probably have a plan in place for protecting your home, but is your business safe? A hurricane preparedness plan is an essential part of being a responsible small business owner. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) asserts that nearly 40 percent of small businesses never reopen after a disaster. With statistics like this working against small businesses, it is more important than ever to have a hurricane preparedness plan in place.

Protect Your Property from Storm Damage

  • Install shutters to protect windows and doors.
  • Clear the exterior of items that could blow away or cause damage. Remove and relocate nonessential equipment to a secure indoor location.
  • Disconnect main electricity to the facility and shut off natural gas supply. This will protect against fire damage.
  • Check fuel in generators, business vehicles, and fire pumps.
  • Check the roof, gutters, irrigation systems, etc. as you would prepare your home to minimize storm damage to the property.
  • Since many standard insurance policies do not cover flooding, including storm surge flooding, inquire about flood insurance for your small business.

Collect and Protect Company Records and Important Documents

  • Adopt a process for saving business documents virtually. Scan documents to the computer. Back up computers onto the cloud, an external hard drive, etc. Store external hard drive in a secure and waterproof location.
  • Make paper copies of essential business documents that are not easily produced such as insurance documents, tax returns, legal contracts, accounting documents, etc. Seal these documents in waterproof containers.
  • Keep copies of important documents in a secure, offsite location.
  • Identify business contacts that are essential to running the business operations. Such contacts may include employees, insurance company, attorneys, accountants, suppliers, banks, etc. Make sure the contact information is accessible from any location.

Establish Preparedness Policies for Personnel     

  • Establish a policy for which employees will be responsible for each part of your preparedness plan.
  • Practice hurricane drills where all employees rehearse their role in preparing for a storm.
  • Keep an essentials toolkit in your facility, including: water, food, masks, flashlight, first aid kit, etc. Should any personnel be onsite during or post-storm, these items will prove to be extremely useful.
  • Develop an emergency communications plan to connect with your employees during and/or post-storm.
  • Establish a plan for employee payroll and time off post-hurricane.

Keep Your Customers Informed During and After a Storm

  • Communicate with customers both during and after a hurricane. Open communication will maintain a trusted business relationship between the parties. You do not want to lose your customers should your small business face temporary or extended closings following a storm.
  • Have customer contact information accessible.
  • Respond promptly to customers.

Storm Continuity Plan

  • Plan how your small business will operate in the face of various emergency scenarios. For example, your company should brainstorm how it will handle limited power, storm clean-up, storm damage, extended closures, etc.
  • Divide responsibilities among employees.
  • Determine essential operations.
  • Educate and train your staff in regards to emergency plans and responsibilities.

Finally, a plan cannot be effective unless it is well thought-out, communicated, and practiced. Assess and address potential risks. Do not be afraid to run drills. Involve your employees in the process. Together, you can increase your small business’s odds of survival by having a disaster plan in place. Save money and save your business by addressing risks before the impending threat of a hurricane.

In the event that your small business suffers storm damage, SERVPRO of North Palm Beach County is here for you. Contact our storm damage experts today to learn more!

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