Preparing Your Business for a Hurricane
Hurricane preparedness does not end at home. Although it’s sometimes overlooked, preparing businesses and workplaces before a storm is an important part of hurricane safety. Whether you are a business owner or an employee, it’s essential to take proactive steps in preparing for a hurricane or tropical storm.
Take the initiative by starting to plan early – even before hurricane season begins – so you’ll always be prepared. The importance of protecting your business from hurricanes is borne out by the fact that 40% of small businesses that close due to hurricane damage never reopen. In order to keep your business from becoming another statistic, it’s crucial to start preparing now.
Business Survival Plan
We’ve put together a basic Business Survival Plan to help you get started. This plan is fairly comprehensive and provides you with steps you can take to protect your employees, property, important business documents/information and more. We encourage you to keep this plan handy by printing it out, making it available to your employees and discussing the plan with them. In addition, this plan can be useful for other disasters (floods, fires, etc.) and can become a part of your company’s overall emergency plan.
Following are three key steps you can use as guidelines to ensure you are prepared for hurricanes or other disasters. In addition to these steps, it’s a good idea to choose a backup location where your business can run smoothly if your workplace is severely damaged.
Step 1: Protect Property
- Invest in and install shutters or plywood in order to protect windows and doors from windborne debris.
- Have the roof of your building evaluated to ensure it can withstand a storm.
- 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.
- Relocate any valuable or fragile possessions.
- Secure all utilities including water heaters, gas tanks and heaters – and if necessary, raise them to higher locations to avoid water damage.
- Secure electronics such as computers and other office equipment with straps or Velcro.
- Turn off all the utilities prior to a hurricane making landfall, if possible.
Step 2: Protect Important Documents and Information
- Designate important contacts to save that are crucial to business operations, such as employees, banks, lawyers, accountants, suppliers, etc.
- Back up 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.
- Save all your designated contacts and documents in an alternate, accessible off-site location.
Step 3: Keep A Preparedness Checklist
The following items should be gathered in one location at your place of business in case a storm or other disaster takes place while you are on the premises. This will help protect your employees in the event that a disaster strikes during regular working hours without prior notice.
- Battery-operated radio or television
- Non-perishable three-day food supply for you and your employees
- Three-day supply of water for you and your employees (one gallon of water per person, per day)
- Coolers and containers for water and washing
- Blankets, pillows, cots and chairs
- First aid kit and first aid manual
- Flashlights, batteries, light-sticks
- Tool kit (basic tools, gloves, etc.)
- Camera and film for documenting damages
- Whistle/signal flare to signal for help
- Tarps, plastic bags, duct tape
- Cleaning supplies, including mops, towels and garbage cans
- Smoke alarms and fire extinguishers
- Electric generator
- Gas for vehicles, generators and other equipment
- Cash, ATM cards, credit cards, proper identification
- 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 hot-line: 1-800-462-9029
- Insurance company and agent’s contact information
Keep in mind that if your business is damaged by any type of disaster, you need to assess, document and report the damages to your insurance company as soon as possible.
Contact Macro for Disaster Relief
If your business is in need of emergency services due to a hurricane or other natural disaster, Macro’s Emergency Fuel Management division is here for you. Contact us today for your disaster relief needs.