Last month we talked about ways to protect houses during a hurricane. However, some people have more property to protect than just their home; they also need to protect their place of business and set up a plan with their employees or coworkers for hurricane procedures. So if you find yourself in a position where you need to prepare your commercial business for an oncoming storm, here are 6 ways to prepare a business for hurricane season.
1) Check Your Business Insurance Plans
Just like with your home, you’ll want to double check your insurance coverage to make sure that any damage sustained from a hurricane will be covered. Business contents insurance is handy to have since it covers damaged or lost furniture, tools and equipment in the event of flood, fire or theft. To prepare for the possibility of having to make insurance claims, take complete inventory of your business. You’ll want to catalog every asset, whether it’s chairs or computers, and take pictures and video recordings to help back up your claims should the need arise.
2) Back Up and Protect Business Records and Data
Records and data are the lifeblood of many businesses, and losing any of it has the potential to be even more devastating than structural damage. If you have digital files, back them up to discs, cloud services, or whatever other secure methods you possess to ensure that you’ll have copies off-site. Backing up your hard drives is also a good idea—you won’t have to reconfigure everything if your computers are damaged. Paper files that can’t be shipped to a safe location off-site should be locked up securely. If there are no digital copies of your paper files, make sure they’re not at ground-level where flooding could destroy them, and place them in water-resistant containers if possible.
3) Protect Electrical Equipment
While losing important data and records can be catastrophic to a business, losing the machines used to access and process the data can also be detrimental. Replacing equipment takes time and money, though how much depends on what kind of insurance coverage your business has. To minimize the likelihood of your equipment being damaged by flooding, lift everything electrical off the floor, and use triple layers of heavy-duty garbage bags or tarps to help protect equipment from any water that might enter the building.
4) Board Up Windows and Doors
If your place of business doesn’t have storm shutters and you don’t have the time or budget to install them, you can purchase thick plywood to board up your glass windows and doors. Measure and cut the plywood to size ahead of time so you have one less thing to worry about when the hurricane warnings start rolling in.
5) Establish Employee Communication
It’s important to make sure your employees or coworkers are aware of all hurricane procedures ahead of time. Staying in contact is key to making sure that employees are safe, and it’s also crucial to getting your business up and running again in the aftermath of a hurricane. Set up numerous ways to get in touch with employees, such as the phone numbers of places where they plan to evacuate or alternate emails that don’t rely on company email systems. Even social media can be utilized in a pinch if employees are willing.
6) Make Disaster Recovery Plans
While you can’t prepare for everything, you can certainly make plans for the more common scenarios that can occur after a hurricane. If the power goes out for an extended period of time, will you use a generator to get your business running again? If there’s damage to the property, how will you conduct business until it’s fixed? Are there ways to operate your business remotely if your business location is compromised or an employee can’t make it back due to evacuation or hurricane damage? If so, assign roles to employees accordingly, such as handling client contact.
A good chunk of these preparations can be accomplished before any hurricanes have the chance to form, so we advise getting a head start so you and your employees have less to contend with in the event of a hurricane warning. That way, you can focus more time on your own personal preparations if a hurricane is predicted to hit your area.
At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.
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