The 2020 hurricane season is officially here. As experts in the industry, we know that early and effective preparation is crucial for minimizing your business’ risk. In addition, early prevention helps protect your staff and overall property from hurricane-related hazards. We also know that during this uncertain time of COVID-19, many businesses are operating with fewer resources and smaller crews than usual, so it’s even more important for businesses to have a plan ahead of time for how to prepare for hurricanes or other major storms.
What can you expect during the 2020 hurricane season?
According to AlertMedia, the 2020 Hurricane Season is expected to be about 50% more severe than average. The typical season has about 12 tropical storms, but 2020 is forecasted to have 16. With the COVID-19 pandemic also already affecting most businesses and resources, businesses need to prepare even more than ever.
5 Steps To Prepare Your Business For A Tropical Storm or Hurricane:
- Assess your main risks
In order to adequately prepare for a disaster, you first need to understand where your biggest risks are. What equipment, processes, data, or other factors are crucial to your business? Identifying these areas will help you plan and prioritize how to prepare and minimize your organization’s risk. FEMA has a great resource for helping to guide businesses in a “Back-To Business Self-Assessment”. Taking the time to think through this type of assessment upfront will help minimize business downtime and damages after a hurricane or other natural disaster.
- Backup your data and protect important documents
It’s best practice to make sure your data is backed up offsite, that way it is protected from flooding and other potential damage to your property. Regular data backups are crucial to make sure that all data is up to date and accessible in the time of disaster. Keep in mind, even if the building itself doesn’t sustain much damage, without access to your data, most businesses cannot continue to function properly. Ensure that all important documents are also saved digitally, and any physical documents are stored safely in proper waterproof safes. These steps are crucial to avoid document restoration processes after the storm.
- Protect your property
Protecting your property, facilities, and equipment is crucial in order to prepare your business for a hurricane. The more you protect your physical assets, the quicker you will be able to get back up and running after the storm.
Some effective ways to prepare your commercial property include:
- Stock up on alternative power supplies such as batteries, flashlights, generators, and more. Power outages are common during major storms and hurricanes, so make sure you are prepared with additional resources.
- Board up windows, doors, and other vulnerable areas of the building. This can help avoid water damage, as well as damage from flying debris that might break through windows and cause further damage.
- Make any building maintenance updates needed, including clearing out any gutters/drainage systems and inspecting the property and foundation routinely.
- Protect your employees
A crucial aspect of hurricane preparedness is planning exactly how you will protect your employees. If the storm strikes while the team is in the office, how and when will they evacuate? What about employees who might be traveling? Working from home?
All businesses should have a clear plan for evacuating the facility in order to help ensure safety and a smooth exit. These plans should be fully communicated and practiced, so there is as little confusion and chaos as possible during the actual disaster. Post maps and plans on each floor of the building to make it easier for the team to follow the instructions. For team members who might be away from the physical facility at the time of the storm, make sure you have a line of communication and a communication plan in place. You should know where all of your employees are and how to contact them at all times, even if the power goes out. If possible, set up a mass notification or emergency alert system to be able to efficiently communicate the disaster and the next steps to your team all at once.
- Be proactive
When planning for a natural disaster like a hurricane, it’s important to be proactive and figure out these details and plans ahead of time. The best defense against hurricanes is comprehensive preparation since this will be your best asset in helping your business recover and reopen following the disaster. In order to make sure you’re covering all the bases when creating your proactive disaster recovery plans, it can help to partner with professionals. Blackmon Mooring & BMS CAT’s Priority Disaster Response Program is a no-cost program for businesses both big and small. We work with you as a partner to help develop an emergency response plan that’s right for your unique property and business. We discuss and identify priorities for your company, perform a property walkthrough, set expectations, and outline procedures to follow should a disaster occur.
When you manage a business or commercial property, it’s crucial to take steps to prepare for natural disasters like hurricanes. By following these preparation tips and best practices, you can help your business bounce back quickly from hurricane damage. Reducing recovery time helps minimize the financial blow your company faces by allowing it to get back to business sooner. The best way to minimize business risk and shut downtime is to make sure your business is prepared for a hurricane. Give us a call today to learn more about our storm damage recovery and planning services!