The Atlantic Hurricane season begins June 1, so now's a good time to update your disaster plan
Thursday, June 1, marks the beginning of the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, is predicting near-normal hurricane activity this season. It expects 12 to 17 named storms. Of those, 5 to 9 could become hurricanes including as many as 4 major hurricanes with winds of 111 m.p.h. or higher.
While there’s time, review your business’ disaster plan to make sure it’s up to date, and if your small business doesn’t have a disaster plan, 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.
- Back up your business records. Make copies of your vital records and store them in a secure location, ideally in a second location. Back up electronic records to the cloud, 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.