Hurricane season and hurricane damage are not pleasant things to think about. But, if your business facility has been—or could be—in the path of a hurricane, it is wise to begin hurricane preparation and instigate preventative measures before hurricane season arrives in full. Acting well in advance can help avoid disruption to your business, mitigate the effects of lost revenue, protect your physical assets and your people.
The Reality of Hurricanes
Hurricanes are monster storms that generate huge energy and power with potentially devastating force that involves:
- Very strong winds and wind damage
- Heavy rainfall
- Storm surges
Importantly, hurricanes can happen without much notice. They don’t adhere to any scheduled dates nor necessarily follow predictions.
The Initiating Process
Hurricane preparation should start with these key actions:
- Meet as a leadership team to define and understand your level of risk and areas of vulnerability.
- Create a strategy for dealing with the issues that you may face including dealing with storm effects during the hurricane and business continuity as well as recovery after the hurricane.
- Develop a formal disaster management plan that defines and documents the actions and timetable that you will follow.
These key actions will help ensure that you are not rushed to make bad judgments, will provide time for effective preparations and will strengthen the confidence of all your stakeholders. Thus, better planning will result in better preparation.
Hurricane Preparation and Preventative Measures
Take these deliberate and preventative measures to ensure that your hurricane preparation is effective:
- Determine how to protect your employees.
- Where are all the employees located?
- Who travels, on what schedule and from where?
- Are there offsite workers or vendors that need to be accounted for?
- Do you have an emergency notification system in place?
- Take an inventory of your physical assets.
- Where are your assets located?
- What assets are critical to keeping the business running?
- What assets are leased and what is your responsibility for them in case of damage?
- Plan to fortify your locations.
- In what ways can you fortify physical vulnerabilities, especially against wind damage and flooding?
- Consider a way to have a back-up location, if possible, for some of your operations and personnel. Allow people to work remotely.
- Identify the means and locations for emergency access to your facility.
- Assess your need for emergency power generation.
- Establish and map evacuation routes and evacuation protocols.
- Back up your data offsite to ensure continuity.
- Create emergency response teams with defined roles and responsibilities, then train and role play with the teams.
- Have a way to protect your business documents.
- Identify all facility management needs and who will be responsible during a disaster.
- Review and update your insurance policies. Clarify the coverage you have for various types of disasters. Make any necessary changes to protect your business. Also, review customer and vendor contracts so that you understand your commitments after a hurricane.
- Communicate consistently with your employees, vendors, and customers so they have accurate status reports; keep the morale of the business up.
- Invest in emergency supplies.
Continue to review your hurricane preparation plans, adjusting as necessary.
Get Expert Maintenance Service
You need expert facility maintenance assistance both before and after an emergency to protect your valuable physical assets. Contact facility maintenance professionals to give you the advice and facility expertise that you need. Reach out to experts serving the greater St. Louis area and providing national service.