It is essential to take proactive steps in preparing for unpredictable storms and other disasters, especially in South Florida.
By planning early, you’ll have the peace of mind that you’re fully prepared in the event of a disaster. 40% of small businesses that close due to hurricane damage do not reopen. Prevent your business from being another statistic, and take time to prepare.
Here’s a quick Business Prep Plan to serve as a guide to safeguarding your business. Keep this plan handy by printing it out and making sure you have covered all the relevant steps before Hurricane Season begins.
You should also consider a backup location where your business could run if damages occur. If your business is damaged remember to assess, document, and report damages to your insurance company as soon as possible.
Step 1: Protect property
- Invest in and install shutters or plywood in order to protect windows and doors from wind-borne debris.
- Remove any branches or trees adjacent to your building that could potentially fall and damage it. Sandbag any area that is subject to flooding.
- Anchor and brace any large furniture (bookcases, shelves, filing cabinets) to wall studs.
- Secure electronics such as computers and other office equipment with straps or Velcro. Cover with plastic tarps if possible to avoid water damage.
- Turn off all the utilities prior to a hurricane making landfall if possible.
Step 2: Protect important documents and information
- Designate important contacts that are crucial to business operations, such as banks, lawyers, accountants, suppliers, etc. Save all your designated contacts and documents in an alternate, accessible off-site location or in a portable external hard drive or USB drive.
- Create and distribute an Employee Emergency Contact List, including phone numbers, addresses and alternate contact information for employees in case of an emergency
- Backup documents that are not easily produced such as insurance documents, legal contracts, tax returns, and accounting statements to avoid water damage. Seal these documents in waterproof containers onsite.
Step 3: Keep A Preparedness Checklist
Emergency items such as first-aid kits, plastic tarps and cleaning supplies should be gathered in one location at your place of business should a storm hit while you are on premises. This will help protect the safety of your employees should disaster strike during regular working hours.
Keep emergency contact information such as the nearest hospital and police, along with:
- Life safety issues: 9-1-1
- Small Business Administration (SBA): 1-800-359-2227
- FEMA Tele-registration hotline: 1-800-462-9029
- Insurance company and agent’s contact information
Step 4: Implement an Inclement Weather Policy
- Determine ahead of time under what circumstances your business will remain open and when it will close.
- How will employees be notified of any closures and re-openings?
- Will employees be paid during business closures? If unpaid, can employees use their sick or vacation time, or make up the missed work hours?
- How should an employee report into or out of work during an emergency?
If you have questions about how to develop or maintain your inclement weather policy, we can help.
Give us a call with no obligation at 305-273-4066 or send an email to email@example.com. We’re always here to help!