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Business Hurricane Preparedness

A significant portion of the United States is at risk every year from the damaging effects of Hurricanes. With the added challenges of the Pandemic, initiating the Disaster Preparedness Plan for your business may have slipped your mind.  Remember, according to FEMA, approximately 40% of small businesses do not reopen immediately after being impacted by a natural disaster.  Additionally, statistics tell us that three years after the event, 75% of companies without a solid continuity plan will fail. Hurricanes have a tremendous effect on businesses, both small and large.  

Given this data, you can see the importance for organizations in danger zones to understand the risks and potential impacts on their bottom line. Below are just a few things you should plan for this year:

1.    Plan and Practice Often for Disasters Common in your Area

Planning, preparing, and practicing are the only effective ways to reduce the impact a disaster has on your business. While modern weather tracking affords you more time than in the past, having a ‘go-to’ plan in place for you and your team will ensure your business survives a catastrophe. Besides the usual personal tasks such as finding an evacuation route or securing sandbags, you will need to look at how you can operate and continue profits if you cannot reopen as planned. Here are some hurricane preparations to consider:

  • How will you protect your property?

    • This should be at the top of your list when it comes to building your plan. Some ways to protect your property include power supplies (batteries & generators), back-up water sources, boarding up of windows, computers and equipment covered and unplugged if applicable, high-value items stored above floor level/away from windows, and more. Review your team’s shutdown procedures so they will know how to act when a plan is initiated.
    • Consider looking into the Ready Business Program that will provide you with the tools to plan, take action, and become a Ready Business by addressing preparedness and mitigation with your staff. In this program, you can apply for recognition as a member of the Ready Business Community.

RELATED ARTICLE: Preparing for Hurricane Season During the Coronavirus Pandemic

  • How will you back-up and store essential data?

    • Nowadays, it is likely you use some cloud-based storage for your business, whether through an out-sourced service or a Google Drive account. Having only one copy of your most crucial data is just bad business practice. If you have not already, now is the time to make sure you have a stable and secure method of automatically backing up and retrieving your company’s information. Be sure you can easily access this data from your planned remote working site to prevent any lapse in serving your customers.
  • What methods will you use to protect and keep track of employees?

    • Studies have shown, business leaders who sought to effectively and proactively address employee concerns reported benefits to their organizations year-round – not just during hurricane season. This goes back to having a plan in place and practicing it often. Some ways you can demonstrate to your staff that you are doing everything within your power to keep them protected:
      • Provide employees with a detailed, workable, hurricane preparedness plan
      • Help employees deal with hurricane-induced anxiety that might occur at both work and home
      • If they are unable to work remotely, consider outside help from people out of the hurricane’s path so that your employees can shelter without added stress
      • Assure your team that you have a system in place to keep them connected throughout the entire duration of a storm

         

  • Plan to operate remotely/off-site

    • Where will you be able to serve your customers? How will your staff work remotely for one day or three months? Due to the on-going Pandemic, you may have already had some practice with this or have watched closely at businesses currently operating remotely. If your business relies on in-person services, you will want to also plan for how you will set up an off-site location so that your customers can still reach you.
  • How will you handle your team if profits are lost?

    • Natural disasters can be a confusing time for you to navigate as the owner of your organization. Plan when you have a clear mind on how you will deal with tough situations if things start to get tight financially. The most important thing you can do as a leader is to share with your team how your business will respond to reduced profits. It may seem odd to share this, however, consider the impact knowledge has on your employee’s state of mind. Knowing when cuts need to be made can make your team more flexible and understanding of budget or temporary pay cuts until things return to normal.

RELATED ARTICLE: Preventing Business Failure during Quarantines or Uncontrollable Loss of Business

 

2.    Disaster Preparedness

  • During Hurricane Andrew, many businesses failed to act early, a move that now 28 years later has permanently closed their doors. You can learn from this costly mistake by knowing how you will respond to a looming threat. Don’t hesitate to declare a disaster and be sure to timestamp all declarations for future insurance claims.
  • Research ahead of time for disaster recovery vendors to assist you in this process from start to finish. Do not be dissuaded by fees as the right vendor can save your business from permanent closure.

3.    Expect the Unexpected

  • As 2020 has taught us, you are never in full control of your business. You will always have to adapt and move in different directions due to issues out of your control. While the best thing to do is to prepare, plan, and practice – the second-best thing is to be protected against anything that comes your way.
  • The experts at DRS Insurance Group specialize in expecting the unexpected. We provide businesses with the best coverages for the right price to protect them against costly litigations and unanticipated damages. We encourage you to reach out and ensure you are properly insured against all the perils that could affect your bottom line. If you would like a free coverage analysis, call or click to reach our agents!

 Remember to make hurricane preparedness your business… before the wind blows!

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