Sunday, June 1, marks the beginning of the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, better known by its acronym, NOAA, is predicting a near-normal or below-normal season, but that doesn't mean your business can afford to do nothing.
Before disaster strikes, review your business' disaster plan to make sure it's up to date, and if you don't have a disaster plan, it means it's time to make one:
- Understand the risks. Is your business in a location where flooding is possible? Are tornadoes, hail storms, earthquakes or other acts of nature potential hazards to your business? Make sure you are aware and protected as much as possible against the possible risks.
- Be sure you have adequate insurance. You need at least enough to rebuild your home and business. Review your policies to see what is -- and isn't -- covered. Consider business interruption insurance, which helps cover operating costs during the post-disaster shutdown period. Get flood insurance.
- Take photographs and videos of your assets. Store them online if possible or in waterproof and fireproof containers kept in a safe place, such as a relative's or friend's home or business in another state.
- Have an emergency response plan. Determine your evacuation routes. Establish meeting places. Keep emergency phone numbers handy.
- Develop a communications plan. Designate someone to serve as a contact person for your employees, customers and vendors. Phone and email in your area may be down following a natural disaster, so ask an out-of-state friend, colleague or relative to serve as a post-disaster point of contact.
- Backup your business records. Make copies of your any vital records and store them someplace safe. Use online backups for electronic data, and keep paper documents in a fireproof safety-deposit box.
- Create a disaster kit. Put a flashlight, a portable radio, fresh batteries, fresh first-aid supplies, non-perishable food, bottled water, a basic tool kit, plastic sheeting and garbage bags in a bag or box someplace handy, in case of emergency. Encourage your employees to prepare disaster kits for themselves and their families.
- How to Craft a Disaster Plan
- Ways to Prep Your Staff for Disaster
- Backing Up Isn't Hard to Do
- When Disaster Strikes: Navigating the Claims Process
To learn more about disaster preparedness, visit www.NFIB.com/disaster.
PHOTO: NASA Goddard/MODIS Rapid Response Team