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Hurricane Preparation for Businesses

imagesHaving 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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