Having a clear, action-focused hurricane plan and taking a few precautionary steps prior to hurricane season are your best strategies to minimize injuries and property damage during a hurricane— and get back to business quickly after the storm. Here are a few guidelines to help:
Understand Your Damage Risks
- Is your business vulnerable to flooding? If your business is located in a flood zone, keep in mind that flood coverage requires a separate policy.
- Know the elevation of your buildings and have a licensed professional inspect them to make sure the roof and other building connections comply with the wind loading requirements in your area.
- If your buildings have large expanses of glass, consider installing impact-resistant glass or impact-resistant film products.
Before Hurricane Season
- Make sure you have an up-to-date Hurricane Preparedness Plan (Need examples? Visit http://www.disastersafety.org/hurricane )
- Establish a call-down procedure for warning and post-storm communications.
- Meet with essential employees; make sure they understand their role and the company plan if a storm strikes.
- If you have them, inspect hurricane shutters; make sure they are accessible and usable.
- If possible, install emergency generators. Test them; make sure adequate fuel is available.
- Prepare a list of vendors and telephone numbers critical to your daily operations. Consider adding backup vendors outside your area.
- Talk with your vendors/suppliers; go over post-storm expectations for services.
Assemble a Hurricane Kit (for each of your locations)
- Copy of your Hurricane Preparedness Plan
- Updated employee contact list
- Updated list of employee roles and responsibilities pre-and post-storm
- Emergency vendor contact information (utilities, fuel, security, off-site storage, etc.)
- AM/FM or weather radio (battery powered)
- Flashlights, batteries, portable lighting
- Plastic bag, labels, masking tape and markers
- Hazard tape
- First aid kit
- Unopened padlocks and keys for lock down of property and equipment if necessary
When a Storm Is Imminent
- Secure the building. Cover non-impact-resistant windows with shutters or plywood.
- Cover and move equipment to a secured area.
- Move all vehicles into a garage. Park them as closely together as possible. Remove all keys and secure them in a separate area.
- Unplug all electrical equipment.
- Brace any inward-opening exterior doors and roll-down doors on the inside.
- Move shop torches and welders to safe storage locations
- Secure any outside items (that can’t be moved inside) with ropes or chains.
- Ensure that rooftop equipment (air conditioning units, exhaust fans, etc.) are securely fastened to the roof deck.
- Shut down any gasoline pumps.
- Place sandbags outside doors.
- Move all supplies (copy paper, etc.) up off the floor.
- Remove all cash and checks to a secure location.
- If you don’t already have off-site data storage, make backup files and store duplicates at an alternate site, preferably out of the storm area.
- Be prepared to have limited access to normal banking services; secure adequate cash to operate for several days.
- Make sure all your employees have contact information and instructions on post-storm procedures.
Review and Understand Your Insurance Coverage
- Review all your insurance coverage. If anything in your business has changed in the past year, make sure that you contact us; we’ll advise whether adjustments should be made to your policies.
- Prepare a list of carriers, their phone numbers, policy numbers, and your Cushman agent’s direct phone number.
- Inventory, document, and photograph equipment, supplies and the workplace.
- Keep copies of all your policies in a secure location. Retain copies in a separate location, outside the storm area if possible.
- If you don’t already carry it, consider business interruption insurance and/or coverage to protect against lost revenue. Your Cushman Insurance Group agent will be glad to talk with you about both.
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