Orlando, Fla. — Every year, right before hurricane season, we take some time to do some housekeeping and discuss your business’ hurricane preparedness which we all know does’t end at home.
Although we pretty much cover this topic all year round, the time to make hurricane preparedness plans for your business is in the off-season —not 72 hours before the storm makes landfall — planning and preparing makes a big difference in keeping your employees and customers safe and reestablish operations after a disaster.
The ability to maintain or quickly reestablish business operations or organization processes requires a focus on preparedness, advance planning, and relationships with external partners and community leaders.
THE NUMBER ONE PRIORITY IS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY
1) Prepare Your People: Hold a Preparedness Discussion
Talking about disasters and helping others prepare makes everyone safer. In your discussion, note how hurricanes have the potential to cause massive destruction, knocking out utilities, disrupting transportation, and causing widespread flooding. Your goal for protection is to prepare your property for a hurricane and to evacuate immediately if authorities order you to do so.
2) Prepare Your Organization: 2 Hold a Tabletop Exercise
A tabletop exercise is a facilitated discussion about what your organization would do in response to a disaster. The exercise leads participants through a simulated disaster scenario and prompts them to examine their plans, policies, and procedures without disrupting the work environment. It allows for a facilitated discussion of roles, procedures, and responsibilities in the context of a simulated emergency scenario.
3) Develop an emergency response plan
You do not want to deal with the 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 lost. Prepare a plan ahead of time so you can react and activate your catastrophic response team as soon as the storm is gone.
4) Assess risks of critical infrastructure
Get well informed by official sources and understand the estimated path and what potential loss of business functions would occur in the case of direct or indirect hit. You may want to create a priority list for your disaster planning.
5) Do your research ahead of time
Connect with each vendor you work with. It is important to know if they have a backup plan for continuing production in these types of events. If they don’t, you must find a plan B. Because the demand for emergency services surges after a hurricane, before its strike, you should also know which contractors or restoration companies will be available for you to call when it’s gone.
6) Backup your data and test the recovery process
This is extremely important and oftentimes overlooked. You can’t assume that your backup technology will automatically kick-in after the storm. Always recover the information from your backup system and establish a protocol to reestablish access to critical information.
7) Maintain Momentum Year-Round: More Ways to Prepare
RESOURCES TO ASSIST WITH FOLLOW-UP PLANNING
The National Flood Insurance Program.
The American Red Cross can provide on-site first aid trainings.
To learn about Federal financial assistance after a disaster, visit www.fema.gov/help-after-disaster.
To help individuals who may express discomfort or anxiety dealing with disasters, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Disaster Technical Assistance Center provides a host of relevant materials available at www.samhsa.gov/dtac/.
The disaster distress helpline is a resource for people who want help coping with overwhelming stress from a disaster. It’s free. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 or TTY for Deaf/Hearing Impaired: 1-800-846-8517.
The Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Technical Assistance (TA) Center sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education for information on emergency operations plans (EOPs) and emergency management planning efforts.
Insurance wise, locate and review you business insurance coverage prior to the weather event. Take time out to meet with your insurance agent, if necessary, and make sure to bring them up to date to any changes done since the policy was first purchased. Also, make sure you have the right type of insurance. While flood insurance has been made mandatory in some locations, it is not mandatory everywhere. Even if it is not mandatory in your area, you may want to consider it.
For personal insurance solutions check out our sister company Orlando Insurance Center