Protecting Your Small Business During Hurricane Season
Have you thought about what would happen to your business in the event of damage due to a hurricane? The Atlantic hurricane season starts in June and runs through to November each year. The peak months, however, are August, September, and October. What protections do you have in place for hurricane season, and can you effectively protect your company and minimize any downtime?
It would help if you had physical or digital backups of all the data you hold. Create a disaster plan and ensure that your backups are kept at a safe third-party location and are accessible to allow you to get back up and running. You can never be too careful.
At a minimum, you need to assess what information and tech are crucial to you to continue to trade and make sure you can access this quickly first from another location if your premises are damaged. Have your data backed up regularly or outsource to a third party who can run regular backups stored to a cloud or SSD for you.
Create An Emergency Communications Plan
Who is in charge of contacting people before, during, or after the hurricane, and how will the chain of command work? You need to inform keyholders and all employees of this chain of command and ensure everyone knows the part they are expected to play and reach their point of contact regarding their safety and situation once the coast is clear and the hurricane has passed.
If you have physical premises, then choosing a company that can assist you with your hurricane preparedness plans and repairs once the danger is passed is vital to help you rebuild your premises in case of damage. You should hold items that can help you to support and protect your premises from damage, such as shutters for windows, sandbags in case of floods, along with knowing where to disconnect utilities or turn them off to avoid the potential of gas leaks or electrical fires.
Your emergency kit should be fully stocked at all times and include the supplies you would need in case you or your employees are stranded in your office or retail outlet during a hurricane. It should include emergency numbers, flashlights, batteries, a first aid kit, water, energy bars, and blankets.
Keep it stored on-site somewhere safe but accessible and have an area you can hide in should you need to escape damage or harm during a hurricane.
After the hurricane threat has passed, you must assess your business for any structural damage and call the relevant companies to help you make it safe again. You should also contact your insurance company to start a claim and enact the chain of command to ensure your employees are safe and walk them through what will happen next as you prepare to get back on your feet.
Remember, your employees may not have fared so well and may require time off to work through any damage to their homes or emergencies to family, so being considerate of how this situation affects everyone and to just your business is vital to allow you to support your employees.