Often times when we think of hurricanes, we first worry about the safety of our family and our home. But for business owners, there is a worry that follows those: what about my business? It is essential to prep your business just as you would your home in the event of an oncoming hurricane. Here are some tips to make sure you are prepared and can recover as quickly as possible in the event of a major storm.
Before the Storm
- Review your continuity plan
If you do not have a written plan, now is the time to create one. Each business should have an emergency plan including a detailed procedure for evacuation, a checklist for shutting down processes and protecting buildings, contents, equipment, and yard storage. Procedures should include salvage instructions to follow the weather event.
- Communicate emergency evacuation and business interruption instructions to your staff
- Protect important documents in waterproof containers
- Back up critical data and computer records
By doing this, you can improve your ability to continue operations after a disaster. Consider keeping a backup generator and plenty of batteries on hand so your business can continue to operate after a power loss.
- Install temporary protection features where needed
Shutter or board up windows to protect them from flying debris
- Clean out floor drains and catch basins to ensure maximum drainage
- Anchor structures, trailers and yard storage so they are more likely to stay put in high winds
- Fill emergency generators and fire pump fuel tanks
- Shut down production processes safely
- Shut off all flammable and combustible liquid and gas lines at their source
- Shut off electrical power at the main building disconnect before the hurricane strikes
- Do an office inventory with a video camera to help in the event of a loss. Store tapes/files in a fireproof box or safe deposit box offsite.
After the Storm
- Return to the workplace when conditions are safe
- Check for obvious structural damage
If you see significant damage, do not attempt to enter the building
- If you have suffered a loss, report the loss to us as soon as possible.
- Should we have no phone service, our website is www.advocatebrokerage.com. Click on claims.
- Provide a general description of the damage and, if possible, have your policy number available.
- Make a note of the claim adjuster’s name, telephone number and inspection schedule.
- If possible, keep damaged items or portions of these items until the claim adjuster has visited your home. Consider photographing or videotaping the damage as you found it for further documentation to support your claim.
- Prepare a list of damaged or lost items for your adjuster and, if available, give the adjuster receipts for those items.
- Prepare a room-by-room list of contents. If available, use photos taken before the disaster which may help you remember items than can be easily overlooked or destroyed.
- Assemble a “Salvage Team” if necessary
- Once everything is checked and repaired, continue business as usual