Hurricane season officially kicked off on June 1, and homeowners are not the only ones who should be prepared for a storm. It is crucial for businesses of all sizes to ensure they have an emergency preparedness plan in place in order to mitigate losses should a hurricane strike.
While 20% of larger companies spend over 10 days per month on their continuity plans, many smaller businesses are not prepared to respond to a natural disaster like a hurricane. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), 90% of smaller businesses fail within a year of a natural disaster unless they can resume operations within five days.
Start preparing your small business for a hurricane now
The best time to start prepping for a potential hurricane is now, when things are calm. In the days and hours before a storm makes landfall, things can get pretty chaotic. Your employees will likely be distracted and stressed as they shop for supplies and prepare their homes, and they will not be as focused on helping you prepare your business.
Here are some things that business owners can do in advance to prepare for a hurricane, which can help you recover more efficiently if a storm makes landfall in your area.
Develop a disaster communications plan
Staying in contact with your customers, vendors, and employees during and after a storm is extremely important. When phone lines and Wi-Fi signals are down, an answering service can literally be your business’ only connection to your callers.
Including a live answering service in your phone disaster recovery plan allows people to continue to contact your business, and their messages can be passed along to the proper individuals even if your standard methods of business communications have been disrupted. Your customers will appreciate the excellent service during a chaotic time, and by never losing contact, you can keep some parts of your business running as usual, saving thousands of dollars in lost revenue.
Be sure to communicate your company’s hurricane plan with your staff so that everyone is on the same page. Make sure everyone is clear on what is to happen, and that they understand their roles and responsibilities.
Establish a safe off-site location to store business records and valuables
Once a hurricane has formed and you are sure that it’s heading your way, you can prevent losses by safely storing data and valuables elsewhere. It can be tricky to determine exactly where a storm will make landfall, as they tend to switch directions last minute, but be prepared to box up your paper records and other valuables quickly and move them to a safe location our of the hurricane’s projected path.
Create a complete inventory of your business’ assets
Make a list of everything in your company’s inventory, including furnishings, computers, technology, and all other equipment and supplies. It’s also a good idea to take photos or video of everything including your building itself. Taking these steps will help you to assess any damage or losses after the storm, and it can also help when dealing with insurance claims.