Prepare a business for hurricane season in 3 easy steps.

by May 27, 2016Business Continuity

How to prepare a business for hurricane season

While many of us are getting ready for Memorial Day barbecues, business owners are (or at least should be) thinking about something else. . .how to prepare a business for hurricane season. Sadly, the start to hurricane season tends to coincide with the kickoff of summer and the beautiful weather. Businesses located in “Hurricane Alley” are used to the drill. However, the truth is with weather patterns evolving, everyone needs to be prepared. Let us not forget our experience with Superstorm Sandy in NYC.

Forty percent of small businesses that close due to hurricane damage do not reopen. That said, take the following precautions to prepare a business for hurricane season:

Step 1: Prepare your physical space. 

Make sure you:

  • use plywood or install shutters to protect doors and windows from debris.
  • have the building inspected regularly to make sure it can withstand a big storm.
  • clean up the surrounding area, ensuring there isn’t anything that could easily blow or fall into your building.
  • buy sandbags for any areas that would be likely to flood.
  • remove any valuable or fragile possessions.
  • check the utilities including water heaters, gas tanks, and heaters and raise them to higher locations, if they would be subject to flooding.
  • shut off all utilities prior to the storm’s arrival.
  • have a backup plan so business can continue should the physical space be damaged.

Step 2: Protect your intellectual property.

Make sure you:

  • Have a business continuity plan in place so that should there be a disruption to your servers, your critical business data is not lost.
  • Have any irreplaceable “paper” documents sealed in a waterproof container.
  • Seal these documents in waterproof containers onsite.
  • Make sure you have access to your servers and data while off-site.

Step 3: Make sure to stock up. 

Make sure you:

  • Have your office pantry fully stocked with the things you may need should the storm hit while you are at work: battery operated radio, non-perishable food supply, generous supply of water, containers for water and washing, blankets and pillows, first aid kit, flashlights (and batteries), basic tool kit, camera to document damages, flares, tarps and duct tape, cleaning supplies, fire extinguisher, generator, as well as cash.
  • Prepare emergency contact sheet with information such as: the nearest hospital, police, FEMA, utilities and the insurance company and agent contact information.

For more tips to prepare your business for a hurricane, please visit FEMA for their small business toolkit. Or contact us for assistance with building your business’ continuity plan.

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