Hurricane Season is Here and Businesses Need to be Prepared

by / Wednesday, 16 July 2014 / Published in Small Business News

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The view of Hurricane Irene from space fails to evoke the true meaning of the storm. A flat white disk when safely orbiting above New York state, Irene was a rain lashed, wind whipped reality that small business owners had to deal with, whether they were prepared or not. Hurricanes are becoming a common feature, and thus something that small business owners need to take serious precautions to anticipate, lest they have their business damaged or destroyed without a plan in place for recovery, leaving them waiting on disaster loans to rebuild. Hurricane preparedness does not have to interfere with regular business operations, but business owners and staff should be prepared for the possibility that a hurricane will effect their business and know what their plan of action is if a disaster should occur.

Know your zone. In most cities where Hurricanes are a common occurrence, there will be information available regarding evacuation zones. These are typically areas with lower elevation that are more prone to flooding, although areas that are on high ground can still be at risk should a storm pass directly through them. Activating amber alerts on your phone will inform you when a storm is approaching as well as what areas are flood risks, which for business owners who have to look after brick and mortar locations is very helpful.

Have a plan in place for an in-office emergency. Having a disaster plan for your small business location is good management practice, and in the event that a hurricane or powerful storm strikes in the middle of a work day, it will help a lot towards managing employee response and keeping everyone safe. A disaster plan should also account for closing your location in a way that will prevent as much damage as possible in the event that it needs to be evacuated. Securing documents or evacuating them with you, backing up important files or computer systems to external hard-drives or the cloud and informing remote clientele and employees of the emergency going on.

Have a recovery plan in place. Should a business be damaged by a storm or other type of disaster, how fast it can get back on its feet will have a heavy impact on whether or not it is able to fully recover. Businesses may want to set aside some capital for use in the event of an emergency, but if this is not a possibility, then they should at least know how to apply for disaster loans and get the process in place quickly enough to avoid maximum wait times. Businesses should also allow for the possibility of a damaged location, and have a strategy for keeping as many operations as possible up and running while repairs are underway.

Photo Credit to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center on Flickr

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