Preparing Your Business for a Hurricane
Respond to Disasters Before They Happen
A relatively small investment of time and money now may prevent severe damage and disruption to your business and your investment.
Find out if your business is vulnerable to flooding by checking the flood maps for your area .
Know the elevation of your building, and have it inspected by a licensed professional to make sure the roof and other building connections comply with the wind loading requirements for your area.
If your building has large expanses of glass, consider using impact-resistant glass or impact-resistant film products to protect your investment. Make upgrades now that would prevent possible future damage.
Take Precautions When a Hurricane is Approaching
If a storm threatens, secure your building. Cover non-impact-resistant windows with shutters or plywood. Cover and move your equipment and furniture to a secured area. Protect all data by making backup files and store the duplicates at an alternate site, preferably away from the area that could be affected by the storm.
Make provisions for alternate communications and power, especially if your business cannot shut down during the course of the emergency. Be prepared to have limited access to normal banking services. Secure adequate cash to operate for several days. Plan on losing water, sewer, electrical and phone service. Stockpile emergency supplies.
Prepare a list of vendors and telephone numbers critical to daily operations. Consider adding a backup vendor outside your area. Prepare another list of vendors who can assist in recovery, and consider contracting with them in advance for such services as recovery of water-soaked papers, debris removal, moving, warehousing of equipment and computer services.
Outline a chain of command and what each employee’s responsibility will be before and after the storm. Ensure adequate primary and backup communications are available. Cell phones, radios, CBs, two-way radios or messenger systems should be considered.
Keep your Employees Informed and Safe
Prepare a list of all employees, including telephone numbers and addresses and any location where they may go if they plan to evacuate. Most employees will need time to attend to their families. If your business must operate during a storm, provide good shelter.
If you will need to get back to work quickly after a storm, and need critical employees to do so, plan on helping them meet their personal needs. Help them obtain emergency supplies and services.
If you need to shut down your business during an emergency, make sure your customers and suppliers know what is happening. If necessary and possible, arrange for phone communication to be re-routed if your lines go out. Be sure to have remote access to your email. Make sure to back up your important files to a secure cloud server or other offsite storage in case of damage.
Evaluate Your Insurance Coverage and Have Info Ready
Prepare a list of carriers, policy numbers, and a contact person including telephone numbers for your agent and his or her claims office.
Have your business appraised at least every five years. Inventory, document, and photograph equipment, supplies and the workplace. Have copies of insurance policies. Purchase business-interruption insurance and consider adding coverage to protect against lost revenues. Remember that flood coverage often requires a separate policy.
After the Storm
Be cautious about entering your business, even if it appears undamaged. Check power lines, gas service, and the building’s structure. If any electrical equipment is wet, have it checked by an electrician before turning on the power. Keep careful track of all losses and damage-related expenditures. Obtain independent estimates of damage. Document all losses with photographs or video.
Don’t wait for an adjuster to arrive before making emergency repairs. Board up broken windows to prevent additional rain damage and looting.