Preparation is Key: Safeguarding Your Business for the 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season
As we approach June 1st, the official start of the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season, it is crucial for businesses to review and update their disaster plans. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts near-normal hurricane activity this season, with an estimated 12 to 17 named storms, 5 to 9 hurricanes, and potentially 4 major hurricanes reaching winds of 111 mph or higher. To ensure the safety and continuity of your business, follow these essential steps to prepare for potential natural disasters:
- Understand the risks: Assess the location of your business and identify potential hazards such as flooding, tornadoes, hail storms, earthquakes, or other acts of nature. Take necessary measures to protect your business and be aware of the risks you may face.
- Review and update insurance coverage: Adequate insurance coverage is essential. Evaluate your policies to ensure they provide sufficient coverage for rebuilding your business and include business interruption insurance, which can help cover operating costs during a post-disaster shutdown period. Additionally, consider obtaining flood insurance as standard policies typically do not cover flood-related damages.
- Document and secure assets: Take detailed photographs and videos of your business assets. Store these records online if possible, or keep them in waterproof and fireproof containers located in a secure place, such as a trusted friend or relative’s home in another state.
- Establish an emergency response plan: Develop a comprehensive plan that outlines evacuation routes, designated meeting places, and emergency contact information. Ensure that all employees are familiar with this plan and keep emergency phone numbers readily accessible.
- Designate a communications contact: Choose a reliable person to serve as a point of contact for employees, customers, and vendors during and after a natural disaster. As local communication channels may be disrupted, select an out-of-state friend, colleague, or relative who can relay important messages.
- Safeguard business records: Create duplicates of vital records and store them in a secure location, ideally in a separate site from your primary business location. Back up electronic records to the cloud and store paper documents in a fireproof safety-deposit box.
- Prepare a disaster kit: Assemble a disaster kit containing essential items such as flashlights, portable radios, fresh batteries, first-aid supplies, non-perishable food, bottled water, a basic tool kit, plastic sheeting, and garbage bags. Keep this kit easily accessible in case of an emergency. Encourage your employees to create their own disaster kits for themselves and their families.
By taking these proactive measures, your business can be better prepared to navigate the challenges presented by the upcoming hurricane season. Stay informed about weather updates and follow the guidance of local authorities to ensure the safety and well-being of your employees and the continuity of your operations.