Storms can be devastating for businesses of all sizes. They cause physical damage, disrupt business operations, and may require employees to be evacuated or take time away from work. In addition, these storms can impact customers and clients who may not have been directly affected by the storm but experienced its effects nonetheless. How can my business improve disaster planning before the next hurricane season to weather the storm and thrive afterward?
Recent Major Storms in the U.S.
Businesses and organizations are familiar with fall’s most feared season: hurricane season. This season may bring the deadliest storms due to climate change, increased urbanization, and water temperatures. Hurricanes can wreak untold damage on businesses and communities alike, but it’s possible to prepare for these events to avoid lasting financial losses.
The storms that hit the U.S. in 2018 were devastating. Hurricane Florence landed in North Carolina on September 14, 2018, causing millions of dollars in damage and knocking out power for thousands of residents in the area. In Texas, Hurricane Harvey dumped more than 50 inches of rain on Houston and other parts of Southeast Texas, leaving many homes destroyed by flooding.
Effects on Small and Medium-Sized Businesses
The majority of businesses affected by hurricanes are small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), according to a survey conducted by The Home Depot Foundation and Hart Research Associates. Of those surveyed, 44 percent said they suffered financial losses due to power outages, and 24 percent said they lost revenue because they could not open their stores or offices in the immediate aftermath of a storm.
How Can My Business Weather the Storm and Thrive?
For property owners in hurricane-prone areas, extreme weather has become an unfortunate reality affecting businesses and homes. It is becoming increasingly difficult for even the most established companies to weather the storm in today’s evolving business landscape. Regardless of a company’s exposure to these dangers, disaster preparedness is critical to maintaining success in today’s market.
Hurricane season in the United States typically lasts from June through November, though it can extend into December. If you own a business in an area prone to hurricanes, you’re undoubtedly aware of the effects these storms can have on your business. Here are some steps to stay ready and prepared for hurricane season and help keep your business open.
Employee Safety is Vital
Employees are the backbone of your business. Your people’s talent and hard work are the foundation upon which you will weather the storm in a constantly changing and evolving world.
With that in mind, employee safety is vital for any organization. To be successful, employers must focus on their employees’ safety and well-being. Disaster planning starts with knowing what threats could impact your workplace and developing a plan to communicate with your team and respond accordingly.
Have a Plan in Place
The first step to weathering any storm is to have a plan in place. Make sure everyone who works at your company knows what they need to do during a storm and how they will get back up and running after the storm passes.
A hurricane can knock out power and other utilities, which means you’ll need to have a plan in place ahead of time so that you can keep your doors open even if there’s no electricity or Internet access.
Prepare Your Company’s Technology
You may not be able to control Mother Nature, but you can prepare yourself for her wrath by preparing your technology. Make sure backups are up-to-date so your data isn’t lost forever if there is an interruption in power or internet service.
Also, ensure all systems are updated with current security patches and software updates before the season begins so that if there are any system failures due to power outages or other issues arising during the storm, your company won’t be vulnerable.
Make Sure Employees Know What to Do
During a storm, you want employees who are calm and capable of following instructions. It is crucial when employees work outside their usual roles or with people unfamiliar with the area (such as new hires).
Employees need clear instructions on what they should do during an emergency — such as when to evacuate or lock down areas — so they can stay safe while helping other employees and customers.
These are some things you should do to prepare for a weather emergency:
- Communicate your company’s policy on weather emergencies. This policy can be part of your company’s new hire training.
- Let employees know what they need to do during an emergency evacuation. Make sure everyone knows where they’re going and when they need to leave the building. Designate a parking spot away from high-traffic areas. People can quickly exit if they must leave cars behind during an evacuation.
- Ensure everyone knows how to check if a shelter is nearby. Include contact information for local shelters open during a storm or other emergency.
Keep Supplies Handy
You should always have supplies on hand in case of emergencies, but that becomes even more important during hurricane season — especially if your store is located within the potential path of tornadoes or flooding rains caused by these storms. Stock up on batteries and all essentials.
Emergency Contact Information
It’s important to have contact numbers for local police and fire departments as well as emergency medical services (EMS). It’s also vital to have contact information for local utility companies like electric and gas providers.
In addition, businesses should verify they have an inventory of all equipment needed to after a disaster strikes.
OTM Restoration Company Serving Businesses in Miami and All of Florida
On The Map Restoration is based in Miami, Florida, and offers business restoration services to aid business continuity. Our experienced professionals are ready to help with any disaster or emergency. We have the skills and resources to handle any size loss.
On The Map Restoration provides professional restoration services for businesses throughout South Florida and the surrounding areas. We care about your property as much as you do, which is why we offer personal attention to every job. We pride ourselves on working with all insurance companies to offer our customers the best possible service possible.
Our company is committed to providing superior customer service from start to finish. We know that when you’re dealing with a property damage claim, it can be stressful enough without having to worry about getting your home back in order too! We aim to make this process as easy as possible. Allowing you to get back on track and focus on what matters most – running your business!