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Homeowners aren’t the only ones who are affected by weather catastrophes. As we approach hurricane season, businesses should ensure they have an emergency preparedness plan in place in order to mitigate losses should a storm occur.
1. Develop an emergency response plan.
The last thing you want to deal with is what to do when you have a high expectation for a flood or all the windows are blown out of your buildings and your roof is peeled back like a sardine can. Prepare a plan ahead of time so you can react and activate your catastrophic response team as soon as the storm leaves town.
2. Assess risks to your mission-critical infrastructure.
Think through and evaluate what your potential loss of functions would be in the case of direct or indirect damage. If you are in a single-story ranch office in a flood zone, your potential loss of business capabilities will be very different than if you are on an upper floor of a high rise. Because hurricanes are so vast and the damage ripples out so far from the eye of the storm, hurricane preparation is necessary not just for coastal businesses. Determine what functions you could lose so that you can create a priority list for your disaster planning.
3. Backup your data and test the recovery process.
Don’t assume that your backup technology is working automatically. Take the time to recover information from the backup system to be sure you know both that it works and how to access critical information.
4. Do your research ahead of time.
Even if your business is not damaged by a hurricane, your production capabilities can be interrupted if a company that provides a product or service you depend on is sidelined or wiped out by a storm. Connect with each vendor you work with to be sure it has a backup plan for continuing production in the case of a storm, and if not, find an alternative that you can turn to in a pinch. You should also know which contractors or restoration company you’re going to call before a hurricane strikes. The demand for emergency services surges after a severe windstorm, and the best options may be unavailable if you want too long to call.
5. Talk to your employees.
Have a conversation with your workers to be sure they understand company procedures and that they are personally equipped to manage in the case of a destructive storm impairing normal working routines. In addition, in the event of a hurricane, you can’t always depend on cell phones or landlines working, but you will need to be able to communicate with employees. Create an alternate means of connecting (such as a text message service or social media page) with your staff and be sure to test it out in a non-critical situation. Employee contact information is one of the most important components of any business operation, and it is even more critical in an emergency. Knowing how to reach your employees and vendors is a vital part of helping your business to quickly recover from a disaster.
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