It’s an important business best practice to identify outdated systems, technology, and protocols. Part of that process should include evaluating the company’s hurricane preparedness. Waiting until the start of hurricane season or until a natural disaster strikes, can cripple a company and endanger its employees.
Thankfully, hurricane season is still two months away, giving businesses plenty of time to prepare. The following are six strategies to protect businesses from the pains and difficulties caused by hurricanes and other major storms:
- Know the risks. Hurricanes can leave a trail of devastation, but it’s not enough to simply understand that any major storm can be dangerous and life threatening. Businesses need to assess the risks a hurricane poses to their employees, physical property, business operations, and data. Some potential sources of hurricane damage include flooding, storm surge, strong winds, and tornadoes. Utility interruptions can also play a major disruptive role in any business, and businesses that require refrigeration, should plan accordingly.
- Obtain emergency supplies before hurricane season. Don’t wait to gather critical supplies until the weather channel reports an incoming hurricane. When a major storm is announced, people flood stores and shortages are common. Having emergency supplies ready to go can help maintain a calm environment and expedite other necessary hurricane preparedness tasks. Consider how to protect employees and business property when purchasing supplies. Some examples include sandbags, generators, water pumps, first aid kits, flashlights, batteries, a radio, chargers, nonperishable food, and water. Help employees by reminding them to refill their prescription medications ahead of the storm. Having cash on hand is also helpful in the event of power outages or credit card processing issues.
- Enable wireless emergency alerts (WEA). The National Weather Service provides the most up-to-date and accurate information on impending hurricanes. FEMA and Red Cross are also reliable weather news sources. Enabling WEA on smartphones allows the weather authorities to send emergency alerts and hurricane updates, such as the storm increasing in intensity, a shift in the expected landfall location, or a change in the expected timeline for the hurricane to make landfall. Businesses can use this information to trigger their emergency plan and providing more time to secure the safety of their employees and property.
- Have a plan (and practice it). A hurricane preparedness plan isn’t useful if employees aren’t familiar with it. It’s difficult to remain calm in the face of an impending hurricane, and employees aren’t likely to recall the details of the plan while under duress. Practice the plan so that employees know the protocols to keep themselves and the company safe during the storm.
- Move or protect assets and data. Protecting business data and equipment can help prevent disruption and losses. Moving business-critical equipment protects it from damage and allows a company to continue to serve its customers during a time of crisis. If moving the equipment isn’t feasible, protect it by moving it to higher ground, and make sure nothing of importance remains on the floor. Offsite or cloud-based data backup is essential. Paper records also need to be kept safe, and offsite backup is important in the event of a major storm. Hot sites, when financially feasible, are an outstanding solution to ensuring uninterrupted, or less interrupted operations. It’s also important to protect the property itself. Protecting the property from damaging winds and projectiles can prevent flooding and facilitate a faster return to businesses as usual. Protect windows with the proper aluminum, steel, or plywood panels, and secure loose outdoor items and furniture. If possible, move company vehicles to a safer location.
- Invest in hurricane insurance. Even with all the protections and precautions in place, hurricanes can cause significant damage. Typical business property insurance excludes hurricane damage and having insufficient coverage can devastate a business. Businesses that invest in supplemental policies ahead of the storms can prevent catastrophic losses.
Prepare your business ahead of the hurricane season. Contact the Windermere Insurance Group team to ensure you have the coverage you need to protect your employees and your company from hurricanes and other major storms!