The Central Pacific Hurricane Season starts on June 1. That doesn’t give businesses much time to prepare – and there’s a lot you need to do.
The Hurricane Season Outlook
The Hawaiian Islands are susceptible to tropical storms. Hurricanes have caused major damage in the past due to severe winds and heavy rain. This includes Hurricane Lane in 2018, Hurricane Iniki in 1992, and Hurricane Iwa in 1981. The Hawaii Office of Public Health Preparedness encourages residents to have emergency kits and plans ready.
NOAA says the 2022 Central Pacific Hurricane Season had below-average activity – only one tropical storm. A normal year sees an average of four to five tropical cyclones.
Although a year with below-average hurricane activity is always welcome, you should not see it as a reason to become lax in hurricane preparations. This year could return to average or even above-average activity. Furthermore, it only takes one storm to cause significant destruction.
The impact of a storm can be devastating. FEMA says 40% of small businesses won’t reopen after a natural disaster and 75% of businesses without a continuity plan will fail within the following three years.
Your Hurricane Season Business Preparation Checklist
The hurricane season will be here before you know it. Plus, storms can occur outside of the official season. Don’t be caught off guard – take these seven steps to prepare your business for a possible storm.
- Strengthen your property. Fortifications to your building could help it withstand a storm. As roof damage is common during hurricanes, make sure your roof is in a good condition and consider whether you need repairs or upgrades. The National Hurricane Survival Initiative has suggestions for businesses, including removing branches close to the building, installing shutters, and anchoring and bracing large furniture.
- Create an emergency plan. A solid plan can help mitigate damage and ensure important tasks don’t fall through the cracks in the chaos of an approaching storm. Consider what actions you need to take to protect valuable systems, equipment, and supplies. Prioritize any potential safety hazards, such as chemicals you need to store at a specific temperature. FEMA’s Ready Business Hurricane Toolkit has guidance to help you identify your risks, develop a plan, and take action.
- Develop a business continuation plan. Surviving the immediate storm is only half the battle. Your business also needs to survive the months and years that follow, which can be challenging if the disaster has disrupted your operations. Consider how your business can continue to operate if your primary location is severely damaged and create a business continuation plan that prioritizes your most essential business functions.
- Back up important documents. You may lose documents stored on the premises – whether they’re pieces of paper or files on a computer. Consider waterproof storage options and off-premises and cloud storage backup for documents such as tax records and insurance policies.
- Gather supplies. In the hours before a storm makes landfall, stores may be inundated and their shelves bare. Acquire your supplies ahead of time. You’ll need items to protect your property as well as emergency supplies for any individuals who have to shelter in place. gov has a list of items you should have in your emergency kit.
- Check your insurance. Check your policies before a storm approaches to ensure you have adequate coverage. You may need multiple policies to secure the commercial property, flood, wind, and business interruption coverage your business needs.
- Monitor the situation. When a storm approaches, you want as much warning as possible. Keep an eye on the weather forecast and make sure you’re receiving emergency alerts.
Prepare your business ready for hurricane season. FICOH provides insurance options to protect your business. An insurance agent can help you review your insurance needs and secure coverage. Find an agent.