Gov. Kay Ivey has issued a state of emergency for all 67 Alabama counties in anticipation of severe weather on Wednesday, March 17. Forecasters say there is the potential for tornadoes, strong wind gusts and hail.
“Out of an abundance of caution, I have issued a state of emergency for all 67 counties to ensure we are ready to act in any way needed from the state level,” the governor said. “Projections are showing that this will likely be a widespread event, with some of the most severe weather anticipated late Wednesday night into early Thursday morning. Please make preparations now in the event your area is impacted in some way.”
One way small business owners can prepare is by reviewing their disaster plans:
- 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.