Frances Badayos | author
ICHQ | Site Author
What could happen to your business if a hurricane were to strike? Could you operate without the internet, computers and credit card readings? What if utilities like power and water are not operational? What if your physical structure or mechanical operations suffer damage? Do employees know what to do?
There are 6-11 Atlantic hurricanes each year. 2-5 of these storms will become major hurricanes, threatening residents in the Gulf Coast and East Coast.
There are things that businesses can do to protect their property and their operations before a hurricane arrives.
From the Insurance Claim HQ legal team, here are 10 hurricane preparedness tips for business.
If you need assistance filing a claim for damage or interruption to your commercial business, contact our lawyers.
10 Hurricane Preparedness Tips for Business
1. Get the building and other systems ready
Evaluate your building, structures and systems. Fuel tanks, mechanical systems and utility connections should be evaluated and secured. Address uplift resistance for the various structures and components. Use shields, anchors and ties as appropriate. Make sure windows are protected with hurricane shutters or boarded up. Make sure drainage systems have backflow valves, and keep drains clear of debris.
2. Prepare landscaping
Signs, fences, canopies, awnings, hanging baskets and outdoor displays are just some of the things that may cause damage in a hurricane. Loose objects may be brought to safety. Some flagpoles can be removed to prevent warping. Minimize the possibility of these objects causing injury to your business or nearby properties.
3. Protect documents
Some documents may need to be kept online, rather than relying on paper records to make it through the storm. When records are stored online, employees need ready access to them. A document storage plan should account for many considerations including security, accessibility and safety, including the possibility of hurricanes. As a hurricane approaches, documents may be moved to a higher floor to minimize the possibility of water damage. Clear papers from desktops, and move documents inward from windows.
4. Move critical items to safety
If your business uses hazardous chemicals, secure them. Critical operating equipment can be moved to higher places or placed on lifts. Key technology like computers and printers may be moved to a higher floor or put on a shelf.
5. Employee effectivity
In advance of a hurricane, instruct employees on what to do. Training and drills can clarify expectations and help employees prepare for the day a hurricane arrives.
6. Employee evacuations
OSHA doesn’t have specific requirements for evacuating employees during a hurricane.
However, OSHA does require that you provide a safe workplace, addressing anticipated hazards. 29 CFR § 1910.38 may require you to create an Emergency Action Plan. A plan addresses emergency procedures, accounting for employees, rescue and medical duties, a chain of communication, alarms and training.
7. Communicate with your team
Create a contact list for employees. Let employees know how they can expect communication. Clearly communicating with your team can minimize interruptions.
8. Communicate with the public
It’s important to communicate with the public before and after a hurricane. Whether your business resumes normal operations immediately or closes, your customers need to know.
Create a plan to communicate by email, text message, social media and other channels. With clear information, you can retain customers and even gain new ones.
9. Watches and warnings
Pay attention to hurricane forecasts and alerts. Hurricane watches and warnings give you advanced information about a coming storm. The NOAA National Hurricane Center (NHC) provides periodic advisories for every tropical storm. There are watches for hurricanes, tropical storms and storm surges, and wind warnings.
10. Get the right insurance
There are many types of insurance that may benefit your business, including hurricane insurance. Be sure to evaluate the different options so you know exactly what is covered by the insurance you select.
Talk to a Lawyer
If your business has suffered damage because of a hurricane, we invite you to talk to a lawyer. At Insurance Claim HQ, our lawyers help businesses with insurance claims. Our team can help you with a claim, pursuing fair compensation based on the terms of your policy, answering your questions and taking care of the important steps. Call or message us now to discuss your situation and start today.