Protect Your Employees & Business From Hurricanes
ADVANCED PLANNING AND PROPER INSURANCE ARE ESSENTIAL TO RECOVERY
Of all businesses that close down following a disaster, more than 25% never re-open their doors. While there’s no way to lower the risk of a natural disaster, there are critical measures that can be taken to protect your company’s bottom line from nature’s fury. A disaster plan and adequate insurance are essential to recovery.
The checklist below is a starting point for the types of issues your organization should be considering in advance of a storm as this year’s hurricane season begins.
DEVELOP A DISASTER PLAN
- Set up an emergency response plan and train colleagues on how to carry it out. Make sure employees know who to notify in the event of a disaster and what measures to take to preserve life and limit property losses.
- Write out each step of plan and assign responsibilities to employees in clear and simple language. Practice the procedures set out in the emergency response plan with regular, scheduled drills.
- Consider the things you may need during an emergency. Do you need a back-up source of power? Do you have a back-up communications system? Where is it stored?
- Decide on communications strategy to clients.
- Consider possible impact a disaster will have on your employees’ ability to return to work and your customers. Prepare a list of employees and their contact information.
- Compile list of important telephone numbers, account numbers
and addresses. The list should include local and state emergency management agencies, major clients, contractors, critical suppliers, financial institutions, insurance broker and insurance companies.
- Keep duplicate records. Back up computerized data files regularly and store them off-site. Documents are some of your most valuable and difficult items to replace. Protect the following documents in a bank safe deposit box or other off-site storage or in water proof containers. You may also scan these items to keep an electronic copy on a flash drive for easy access.
- Personal items: birth certificates, marriage licenses, immunization records, pet vaccinations, photos that would be difficult to replace.
- Financial documents: stock and bond certificates, account numbers with contact information, first two pages of your latest income taxes, backup disc of financial management software.
- Legal papers: deeds, titles for vehicles and boats, living wills, passports, military records, powers of attorney, child custody or divorce records.
- Insurance: copies of all policies, including homes, vehicles, boats, health, life, along with appraisals, home inventory (photos or video of your home’s contents) and pertinent contact numbers.
PROPERTY LOSS CONTROL
- Identify locations – your own, clients and critical suppliers – that may be exposed to hurricane damage directly or indirectly.
- Review plan for mitigating property damage before storm hits and for recovery post storm.
- Ensure storm monitoring system are operating efficiently to enable sufficient time for an organized shutdown if needed.
- Verify battery-operated equipment and supplies needed to maintain property integrity and security are available and operational.
- Identify security resources – fencing, barriers, plywood, security personnel, additional manpower, etc. – that may be needed.
EVALUATE BUSINESS CONTINUITY, EMERGENCY RESPONSE & CRISIS MANAGEMENT
- Review and update business continuity plans on a regular basis.
- Verify critical vendors’ business continuity plans.
- Evaluate possible impacts on and opportunities for client service.
- Contact local government agencies to establish tiered and coordinated response procedures.
- Develop communications plan for vendors, clients and employees regarding hurricane policies and procedures.
- Discuss with other local businesses possible recovery coordination efforts post storm.
- Review and update employee contact information and evacuation plans.
- Establish communication procedures to account for employees and disseminate information.
- Ensure all employees are aware of emergency policies and procedures.
- Ensure that employees who are on site during a storm have water, nonperishable food, first aid kits, phones, radios, flashlights, etc.
DISASTER SUPPLY KIT
Store items in a water-resistant containter:
- Cash: at least $300-$500 in various increments, as vendors may not be able to make change in an emergency
- Two-week supply of prescription medicines
- Food: at least a week supply of food, including special dietary and pet foods and a manual can opener
- Water: one gallon per person per day for at least three days for drinking and sanitation. You may want to fill the tub and containers with water, as you may need it even post evacuation
- Flashlights and extra batteries for each member of the family and water purification kit
- Portable NOAA weather radio and extra batteries – look for radios that can be cranked for charging instead of using batteries
- First aid book and kit
- Two coolers (one in which to keep food, the other for ice)
- Plastic tarp for roof/window repair, screening, tools, nails, duct tape, etc.
- Clean-up supplies (sponges, buckets, towels, disinfectant)
- Toilet paper, paper towels, plastic trash bags and pre-moistened towelettes
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger and camera
- Local maps in the event you need to evacuate the area
Additional considerations for disaster supply kit:
- Additional fuel for generators or gas tanks
- Extra pair of glasses or supply of contact lenses
- Important family documents sealed in waterproof container
- Travelers’ checks and change
- Books or other activities
- Fire extinguisher
- Personal hygiene items
- Matches in waterproof container
- Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper as disinfectant (dilute nine parts water to one part bleach)
CREATE AN ACTION PLAN
In the event of an evacuation
- Become familiar with the community’s disaster preparedness plan.
- Know your evacuation route and have a predetermined destination in mind.
- Selection a point of contact and common meeting place if separated during the evacuation process.
- All vehicles should be well fueled. Gas will be hard to come by.
- Make sure you bring essential items (including cell phone, flash light, NOAA radio, etc.).
If you are unable to evacuate
- Identify a “shelter” room in your home. This enclosed area should be on the first floor, in central part of the home with no windows. Consider keeping your emergency kit there and go there when needed.
- Remain in contact with neighbors who are staying in their home during the storm. Others who are riding out a storm may need your help and you may need theirs.
- Make arrangements to use alternative means of communications.
- Consider installing a gas powered generator to power your home in the event of a power outage. Test and refuel it regularly to ensure it is operational at the time you need it.