Many businesses are not prepared to respond to a man-made or natural disaster. Statistics show that of the businesses that close because of a disaster, at least 1 in 4 never reopens. Small businesses are particularly at risk because typically they only have one location—the one that is damaged or destroyed. That’s why disaster planning is a critical part of every business’ operational objectives.
The Atlantic hurricane season starts each year on June 1. Business owners in hurricane-prone areas in particular should make sure they are ready for a potential storm. IBHS offers the following recommendations to help business owners prepare for hurricanes and tropical storms.
- Have your building(s) inspected and complete any maintenance needed to ensure your building can stand up to severe weather.
- Designate an employee to monitor weather reports and alert your team to the potential of severe weather.
- Review your business continuity plan and update as needed, including employee contact information. If you do not have a business continuity plan, consider IBHS’ free, easy-to-use business continuity plan toolkit for small businesses, OFB-EZ® (Open for Business-EZ).
- Remind employees of key elements of the plan, including post-event communication procedures and work/payroll procedures. Make sure all employees have a paper copy of the plan. Review emergency shutdown and start-up procedures, such as electrical systems, with appropriate personnel, including alternates.
- If backup power such as a diesel generator is to be used, test your system and establish proper contracts with fuel suppliers for emergency fuel deliveries.
- Re-inspect and replenish emergency supplies inventory, since emergency supplies are often used during the off-season for non-emergency situations.
- Test all life safety equipment.
- Conduct training/simulation exercises for both your business continuity and emergency preparedness/response plans.
- Identify and select the right window protection system for your building. Window protection is a key aspect of hurricane readiness and business owners must do their planning, purchasing, and initial preparations well in advance of a storm.