Hurricane season has begun and 2022 is predicted to be active for heavy storms in many parts of the U.S. Advance preparation for severe weather is the best way to protect your employees and minimize loss to your business. As the 2022 hurricane/tropical storm season sets upon us, four tips to help business owners get started with the preparation:
The worst time to seek out emergency supply items is when everyone else is. Securing emergency essentials in advance of a severe storm warning guarantees you have what you need and frees up valuable time to focus on other preparedness tasks. The emergency supplies you’ll need depends largely on the size of your business and its location, but some generally advisable items may include:
First aid kits
Boards for windows
Other items may be needed, as well, depending on the type of business you are in and the vulnerability of your physical office or store to the elements. If your business is located in a flood zone, for instance, additional items may be needed, so it is best to research the right emergency supplies to properly equip your space.
It’s advisable to review your coverage periodically to make updates as needed and to stay aware of what types of loss are covered for your business. Read over the policy to make sure your coverage is sufficient and to learn what deductibles are involved. Store your policy in a safe place, and make a contact list for yourself that includes your agent’s phone number and your policy number. It is also helpful to inventory and photograph office items in case documentation is needed to file a claim later.
The safety and well-being of your staff is a top priority. Your staff should know emergency procedures, such as locations of emergency exits and evacuation routes, as well as where in the office to locate first aid kits, water, and other supplies. When a severe storm is threatened, minimize the number of staff on site by bringing in only essential personnel and allowing others to work off site—from home or from another location in case they have left the area. Setting up the infrastructure for remote work, where possible, minimizes the disruption to your business activities by enabling people to continue working even if your business must physically close for days. It also enables employees to tend to their own homes and families.
A severe storm or hurricane that damages your building will likely damage many of the important contents inside. Consider cloud-based storage options that allow you to scan and upload important documents for immediate access from anywhere. Moving your files to cloud storage not only secures them against physical damage, but also allows you to retrieve them from anywhere in case your physical building must close. It will also enable smoother remote work for employees if everyone can access documents from multiple sites and update them in real time. If your business requires hard copies of certain documents, it may be advisable to keep copies in a secure off-site storage in case of loss.
Ensuring the safety of your employees and securing your business property are goals best met through advance preparation. Planning ahead reduces panic and chaos when a severe weather warning is issued. Once a storm passes, as the damage is assessed, your business or store may need to remain closed for days or even weeks due to property damage or power outages. Some employees may be delayed in coming in if travel routes have not been safely cleared or if they are dealing with property damage at their own homes. Online services for businesses can help keep many important business operations running during weather-related shutdowns by enabling your team to access administrative and financial data from remote sites, thus minimizing the disruption without compromising safety.