We like to pretend we are masters of our environment, but the simple truth is, even in this day of mechanical marvels and technological wonders, we are still at the whim of Mother Nature. Natural disasters of varying degrees can happen anywhere on the planet, but if you happen to live and work on the coast, hurricanes are most likely your biggest concern. Just like you have a plan for your home, business owners should devise a plan that potentially can save you countless hours and dollars should a hurricane hit.
Forewarned Is Forearmed
The Boy Scouts got it right when they coined the motto “Be Prepared.” Knowledge and preparation ahead of time can make the difference between a difficult situation and a total loss.
First and foremost, know when the hurricane season starts and stops where you are. The National Hurricane Center states that hurricane season in the Atlantic is approximately June 1st through November 30th, and is approximately May 15th through November 30th in the Pacific. Check the news and weather updates frequently during this season to keep yourself from getting caught off guard.
Devise a Plan
Make sure you have contingency plans in place for your business. If you are making use of local providers or distributors, their business and transportation capabilities will most likely be affected as well, so have backup resources available to keep your business running. It may cost a little more, but the long term payoffs of keeping your customers happy will win out in the end.
Don’t skimp on the equipment and security you need. Things like hurricane insurance or flood coverage can help you save your business if there is damage. Off-site data management and cloud storage also can be invaluable. There are a lot of options available depending on your size and data needs that provide data backup, recovery and security, which is especially important if you equipment is damaged.
Do your best to prepare. Invest in quality storm shutters to protect your building from damage like flying debris. Secure products and equipment in bags or off the floor to prevent water damage if there is flooding. Unfortunately, some people might take advantage of the confusion to commit crimes, so make sure you have a complete inventory of your assets and products including pictures.
This also is a good tactic for insurance claims.
Should I Stay or Should I Go?
The decision on whether or not to evacuate can be tough. Many people think that staying will be easier and that they can weather the storm. However, most professionals will recommend leaving if you have the ability. Not only is it safer during the actual storm, but often times the aftermath can leave you without common services like electricity or water for extended periods.
Know your area’s evacuation plan. If you live in a high frequency area, odds are the local government has a system in place. If not, the national government has developed guidelines that will help you should the need arise.
If you go, go early. Waiting until the last minute can be disastrous and could leave you stranded, says Ready.gov. Should you choose to stay, make sure you have plenty of provisions. Again, don’t wait until the last minute to buy these. First aid, food and water will be the first things to go when word of an impending storm hits.
Hurricanes are easily one of Mother Nature’s most destructive forces, but with a little planning and preparation, they don’t have to destroy your life or your business.