Each year, the U.S. government sends an estimated $28 billion on hurricane relief. While government aid is undoubtedly helpful, it’s often not enough to keep businesses afloat. In fact, about 75 percent of businesses that don’t have a disaster plan close within three years of a natural disaster.
Therefore, it’s essential to have a disaster plan that details how employees should respond and essential safety items that should be on hand.
Here is an emergency hurricane preparedness guide that will allow your business to continue to thrive.
Hurricane Procedures For Business
Sit down with your managers and create a plan that details the responsibilities of each team member. Use these points below as a checklist to ensure that you and your team are prepared.
- Backup Your Data - Consider investing in electronic vaulting. Electronic vaulting allows you to transfer data to a safer, offsite location instantly. This keeps your data safe, makes it accessible for remote working, and reduces downtime.
- Establish a Remote Work Plan - During COVID-19, the World Health Organization noted that cyberattacks increased five-fold as employees began working remotely. Consult with your IT team on how your team can safely work from home.
- Evaluate Your Insurance Plan - Understand what your insurance covers and how to prepare for anything they will not cover. Have detailed images of your workspace to use as before and after pictures.
- Invest in Recovery Services - Recovery services provide support for daily operations such as check processing, office operations, and mail during disasters. Some services also include temporary relocation, emergency repairs, and legal advice.
- Create a Communication Plan - As most cell phones don't work during natural disasters, consider how you can have offsite employees updating your website to inform customers of the current delays. Additionally, plan how you will communicate operational information to employees.
Facility Hurricane Preparedness
Preparing your facility is one of the best ways to minimize potential damage to your business.
If the storm is approaching, do your best to move valuable physical assets, such as computers, printers, and other electronics, away from all windows. If employees have time, ask them to remove all items on top of their desks to minimize damage.
There is also a significant chance of an electrical fire, so be sure to unplug all electronics from sockets. If you have fire protection equipment that requires electricity, such as fire pumps, talk to your team and your local fire marshal to determine how you can safely leave these machines running.
When you return to the building after the storm, many electrical cords may have been damaged or corroded. Unfortunately, this damage is not always visible, and by turning on any electricity, you could spark an electrical fire. In fact, electrical fires account for the highest share of civilian deaths and direct property damage. Therefore, ask a professional to inspect the building before allowing employees to resume work.
Routine maintenance on all disaster prevention equipment and a building structure is essential to securing your building against a hurricane. Check your maintenance calendar regularly to ensure that all equipment is up to date.
Disaster Safety Equipment
There’s no way to prevent or predict every type of disaster. However, there are ways to reduce exposure to physical, chemical, and biological hazards. These hazards can present dangers to emergency personnel as well as employees during cleanup and recovery.
Chemical and biological spills can happen at any time, but they are more prevalent after a natural disaster. Oftentimes, flammable chemicals ignite fires, causing even more damage to the surrounding areas. Furthermore, chemical and biological spills can contaminate the local environment and water supply, prolonging cleanup efforts. An effective method to mitigate these hazards is to use the right safety storage equipment.
Cable Management Safety
During an evacuation, it's essential to have safe floors that people can move across swiftly. Cords and wires running across the floors are dangerous and should be covered with a cable protector such as the Checkers Cable & Hose Management cover. If you prefer to eliminate the risk of tripping over cords, you can also use the Checkers Quick Hook Cable Management to run cables overhead.
To further secure your flooring, the Checkers Ground Protection matting systems provide excellent grip and a soft surface on walkways. It also doubles as a secure surface for large equipment like generators.
Flammable liquids like gasoline and kerosene are also major fire hazards during hurricanes as they can spill or burst on impact. To reduce fire risk, store flammable liquids in a safe container with a durable structure and strong spout, like the Justrite Type 2 Accuflow™ Safety Can.
For increased spillage protection, Justrite flexible spill containment berms can be placed under your emergency generators and helps your business comply with SPCC and EPA regulations. Justrite’s innovative PetroPad oil solidifying spill pads can also be used under generators to prevent further environmental impacts due to oil spillage, while QuietSite™ Sound Barrier panels can help reduce noise pollution around the generator when running.
While the damage and destruction of a hurricane can be devastating, having a strong hurricane preparedness plan can drastically reduce financial and brand damage.