Hurricanes are non-discriminating storms. They don’t care, or notice, if it’s your home or your business that they’ve targeting. The truth of the matter is that it can be even more devastating to have your business impacted by a hurricane, than your home. Think about it. Your business is not only your livelihood and passion; it’s your employees’ too.
As a business owner, or an employee, you need to spearhead the development of a written disaster plan if one isn’t already in place. If you’re an employee, ask management if there is a disaster plan in place and request that it’s made available to all staff. If you are a business owner, we suggest that you develop a written plan and train your employees so that you’re ready whenever nature decides to attack. If you already have a plan in place, then there’s no better time than now to review it. Engage your employees in the review; they’ll appreciate being involved.
Here are some guidelines for developing your disaster plan:
Building and Equipment. Decide what can be done to protect the equipment and building (or office) itself. If the equipment is small enough, it can be moved away from windows and piled on top of furniture. If the equipment is large and can’t be moved, cover it securely with heavy duty plastic. Be sure to weigh down the plastic covering in case windows are blown out and water is blown into the interior.
If you own the building, have plywood ready to secure all windows. Make sure that all trees have been trimmed and have the roof inspected for loose or missing tiles. Also have sandbags to place around doors if on ground level. If you are in an office building, check with your building management to see what plans they have in place to protect your office.
Staff. Decide which staff member will be the main point of contact. That person should have all contact information for each employee, including cell phone numbers and emergency contact numbers. Management will work with this designated contact to determine when to notify the rest of the staff that it’s safe to return to work.
Data. There should be a removable backup of all-important data to be stored off site in a secure location – preferably outside the area you live and work in.
Insurance. Review your flood policy to ensure that you have enough coverage for a worst-case scenario.
Being prepared is always the best policy. FEMA has put together a couple of very informative white papers that you’ll find useful.
Talk with your insurance agent for more informative resources. We’re here to help you protect your business and livlihood!
This information is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice. Should you have any questions or would like to discuss your risk exposure with your business insurance, please contact the insurance pros at ARCW Insurance. We are here to help.