June has arrived, and you know what that means here in Hawaii: hurricane season!
How well is your business prepared for the potentially catastrophic effects of a hurricane? According to Ready.gov, up to 40 percent of businesses affected by natural disasters never reopen, and many of those businesses fail to recover only because they weren’t adequately prepared. Do you know what steps to take before, during, and after a hurricane? If you don’t, you need to develop a written plan and train your employees – the sooner the better.
What should your hurricane plan include?
Your written plan needs to address some key areas, including:
- What measures you’ll take to protect your facilities and equipment
- How to get your employees to safety and which employees, if any, must remain at your facility
- Policies and procedures for all phases of hurricane operations, including emergency communications
- Procedures for protecting vital records
- Your insurance coverage
Here are a few tips to make sure you’re prepared for every phase of dealing with a hurricane:
- Compile an emergency contact list with 24-hour telephone numbers of essential staff
- Back up all vital records and have a safe storage area above ground where they can be relocated if necessary
- Keep up with maintaining your facility, e.g., roof, windows, security lighting, emergency power, emergency communications systems, etc.
- Keep hurricane emergency supplies on hand and available (battery-operated radio, flashlights, batteries, First Aid kit, emergency tool kit, and food and water for staff who will remain at the facility)
- Make sure all employees are familiar with your written plan and how to implement it
- Make sure all doors, windows, and other openings are secure against wind and water
- Secure any outdoor objects which may be blown around
- Verify that vital records are safe
- Confirm availability of necessary computer support
- Ensure that all vehicles are serviced and fueled. Determine where they can be stored to safely weather the storm.
- Take inventory of hurricane emergency supplies and restock if necessary
- Move desks, files, furniture, and equipment away from non-shuttered windows, and wrap office equipment such as copy machine and computers in plastic to protect against water damage.
- Dismiss non-essential personnel
- Turn off all air conditioners, disconnect electrical equipment, and turn off lights
After the hurricane
- Assess the damage including roof, water damage, and broken windows
If there are any indications of power fluctuations or damaged equipment, don’t turn computers on
Have employees return to work according to staffing schedule
Last but not least, make sure your business is financially prepared
You should review your business insurance policies at least annually to make sure you’re sufficiently covered in case a hurricane strikes. Keep in mind the ultimate cost of a disaster to your business can go far beyond the physical damage to your property and equipment. There’s potential disruption to your business and your income, and an endless list of ancillary costs.
Contact your independent agent today for a business insurance review, and make sure to ask if you need flood insurance or hurricane insurance. We’ll make sure your business is on solid ground before hurricane season hits.