Hallmark Mitigation & Construction has seen its fair share of hurricane damage restoration projects. With hurricane season finally here, we can attest to the value of early planning and preparation. As a business owner, preparing your property to withstand a storm is of the utmost importance. We’ve compiled some helpful commercial hurricane preparedness tips to ensure your business weathers the storm and is ready to reopen once the wind and rain have cleared.
Commercial Hurricane Preparedness Helps You Weather the Storm
After years of responding to disasters for our customers building mitigation and reconstruction needs, we can say with little hesitation, the projects that went extremely well all have 1 thing in common. The customer was prepared!
This means they lived through whatever event occurred, meaning the “life safety” part of their preparedness plan worked. They had the funds to pay to do the job required, either via proper insurance, or in cash, they spent the time with us to educate us on their business needs, and finally, were educated enough on the process to know when we presented a good plan and allowed us to execute.
If any one of the above are not in order, the steps will take longer, the longer it takes, the worse it becomes for the business, insurance company and the restoration company. Long story short, being prepared is the first step towards a win/win/win. Not being prepared is setting up for the opposite.
Commercial Hurricane Preparedness Tips
Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30. While it is impossible to predict exactly where a hurricane will hit, or how much damage it will cause, it is possible to minimize the impacts of a major storm. Every business is different; however, there are basic commercial hurricane preparedness considerations a business can take that will put them ahead of 90% of the other businesses, which is a great first step.
People are the life source of any strong company. As a business owner, it is your duty to establish a protocol for your employees to follow as a storm approaches. Consider the locations of your employees, their schedules, and your ability to communicate and coordinate across these factors. Before a hurricane strikes, gather up-to-date contact information for each employee and implement a communication system.
As maintaining your business is a team effort, you should think of hurricane preparation in the same way. Assign clear roles and responsibilities to each person. Before landfall, train your team and make them aware of your expectations. Practice the emergency plan with your employees to ensure everything runs smoothly when time matters most. Identify and post-emergency evacuation plans and routes in visible areas for easy reference.
Flooding, winds, electrical surges, and more threaten the equipment, inventory, networks, and other important components that set your business apart. Prioritize your assets by considering the physical locations of each, any protection or warranties on each item, and any possible liability you’ll incur for damage to leased assets.
Create checklists for each aspect of your business. Before the storm, back up your data offsite in case of damage to your on-site servers. Utilize a cloud system to easily access payroll, CRM, and HR systems remotely. FEMA offers a Continuity Resource Toolkit to prepare and adapt to the uncertain conditions after a hurricane.
Even if you’re not on the water, hurricane conditions can threaten inland facilities. In addition to the address where you run the business, you’ll also need to account for storage units, parking lots, and other locations that support your business.
Prepare an evacuation plan for each facility that notes all exit points and a route to the nearest hurricane evacuation route. Additionally, gather supplies to fortify the property. For instance, if you have large glass windows, boarding them up may prevent wind and water damage. Or, consider adding sandbags around the perimeter to slow incoming water.
Furthermore, you should review the supplies and equipment you’ll need to make your business operational after the storm. Generators, gasoline, fans, and more, are some of the tools that will make reopening less of a hassle.
Create and post checklists around your business for easy access. Review contracts with vendors, insurance companies, landlords, and others to avoid potential legal repercussions from breach of contract.
Don’t Let a Hurricane Get In Your Way
When you run a commercial operation, planning, and preparation help to preserve your business, employees, profits, and legacy after a hurricane. Giving special attention to commercial hurricane preparedness needs now saves you time, energy, and money after the storm. Don’t get caught unprepared!
Hallmark understands that even the best of plans sometimes go awry though. If your commercial property experiences hurricane damage this season, call us immediately. We offer 24/7 emergency response to help you when you need us most. Don’t forget to check out our Emergency Response Program to guarantee priority restoration services for commercial clients.
Commercial Hurricane Preparedness Resources
FEMA has an excellent and free “Ready Business Mentoring Guide” that we highly recommend as a starting point. For other great documents FEMA has for businesses, Click here.
For storm preparation tips, look here.
Another good resource is Ready.Gov, which has ample family and business information.
Don’t forget, during many events land lines are down, or phone systems do not work without power. Get cell phone numbers for key contacts and put them in your phone.