Hurricane season officially starts June 1st, is your business prepared and protected? In 2017 we saw a record number of hurricanes and experienced debilitating damage here in Collier County. Many businesses were not prepared for the long-standing aftermath of such an active storm season. This year, to help you better prepare, we have put together a list of ways to make sure you and your business can emerge from the 2018 hurricane season unscathed.
Have an Emergency Plan in Place
Preparing for the worst is half the battle. Putting a plan in place now can save headaches, money, damage and possibility even your life. Work up a plan of who is responsible for what preparations if and when a storm is predicted to hit. Contact your essential vendors now for things like putting up shutters, backing up computer data and moving essential equipment out of harm’s way. As soon as a major storm is predicted, you will be waiting in line with everyone else to try and hire someone to take of these essential tasks. Locate, label and properly store all of your hurricane supplies now. Scrambling at the last minute and finding out you don’t have what you need will cause unnecessary stress and potential damage later.
Back Up All Of Your Data Regularly
If you are not already backing up essential data on a daily basis, now is the time to start doing so. Setting up nightly backs ups now means that when a storm hits, you have everything you need safely stored in case your office and your equipment suffers irreparable damage. External hard drives are becoming dinosaurs. What good is an external hard drive if it’s connected to the damaged computer? Invest in a cloud-based backup system where all of your data is securely backed up off-site. This is just a good business practice to start with, but you will be glad you did it when you’re preparing for a storm and don’t have to stop and wait hours for your data to back up!
Talk to Your Insurance Agent
This is another good business practice for everyday life, but you should purposely check in with your insurance provider prior to hurricane season to make sure you understand the limits of your coverage in regards to storm damage. Now is the time to add extra coverage, make changes to your policy and fully understand the limitations of your coverage.
Coordinate with Essential Vendors
If you’re based in a hurricane-prone zone but your clients are spread all over the country or even the globe, you can’t expect them to sit back and wait while you recover from a storm to get back to business as usual. If your vendors are local and could potentially be affected by the storm, you need to know and understand what your options are to keep the business running. Having back up vendors and suppliers outside of a hurricane zone to be on standby in case of an emergency is key. Knowing that business can continue even if your building or office suffers damage is key to not letting a storm flatten your entire empire.
Have a Plan With Your Employees
What happens if your employees evacuate and come back to a destroyed home? What if they are unable to return to the area for weeks on end? Will they still have their job? Will you pay vacation pay or sick pay during those days away from the office? Are they expected to work remotely until the “all clear” is issued and its safe to come back? These are crucial questions that can make or break a workplace. You can’t function without employees, but you can’t expect to sit down with the entire time days before a storm hits and make a plan that everyone agrees with. Having this conversation and plan in place now will make sure that when the time comes, your employees know exactly where you stand on these issues and what the expectation is moving forward.