Creating a hurricane safety plan for businesses is crucial to ensure the safety of employees, protect assets, and maintain business continuity during and after a hurricane. Here’s a comprehensive checklist to help you prepare:
Prior to Hurricane Season
- Update the emergency contact list.
- Meet with all essential employees to make sure they understand their role and the plan.
- Update the Emergency Response Plan with any new locations.
- Make sure the kits are stocked with all necessary items.
- Make sure all hurricane shutters are accessible and usable.
- Test any and all emergency generators and ensure there is enough additional fuel available.
- Contact all vendors/contractors to go over your post-storm expectations of services.
- Communicate business continuity expectations to all employees and ensure they have an appropriate contact list.
- Update and post evacuation routes for employees.
Before a Predicted Storm
Create a GO BOX of critical papers:
- A list of all employees, key customers, and clients along with their phone numbers.
- Insurance policies and agent contact information.
- Back‐up electronic data.
- Equipment, computer software/hardware, and furniture inventories.
- A list of emergency vendors, like plumbers and restoration contractors.
- Copies of essential business policies, plans, and agreements.
- Photographs of the business, both inside and out.
- Maintain a list of emergency contact numbers, including local emergency services, utility companies, and your insurance provider.
- Be aware of local emergency shelters and resources available in the community.
Emergency Response Plan: Develop an emergency response plan that outlines evacuation procedures, communication protocols, and roles and responsibilities for employees during a hurricane. The ERP should include a communication plan for keeping employees, customers, and suppliers informed before, during, and after the hurricane. Ensure that contact information is up to date.
- Conduct a thorough inspection of your building to identify and address potential hazards.
- Secure windows and doors with hurricane shutters or plywood.
- Elevate critical equipment and inventory to prevent water damage.
- Anchor outdoor equipment and objects that could become projectiles.
- Identify an alternative location where essential business operations can be conducted if your primary location is compromised.
- Install backup power systems (e.g., generators) to keep essential equipment running in case of power outages.
- Back up critical business data offsite.
- Protect electronic equipment and data with surge protectors and waterproof containers.
Supply Chain and Inventory:
- Assess inventory levels and order extra supplies if needed.
- Have a plan for securing inventory in case of evacuation.
Insurance Review: Review your insurance policies to ensure you have adequate coverage for property damage and business interruption.
Financial Documents: Secure important financial documents, contracts, and legal papers in waterproof containers.
Emergency Kits: Create emergency kits that include first aid supplies, flashlights, batteries, non-perishable food, and water for employees who may need to stay on-site during the hurricane.
- Educate employees on hurricane preparedness and safety procedures.
- Establish a check-in system to track employees’ safety during and after the hurricane.
Post-Hurricane Recovery Plan:
- Monitor broadcasts to determine if it is safe to access your business location.
- Develop a plan for assessing and documenting damage after the hurricane.
- Coordinate with contractors and restoration services for repairs.
- Take detailed photographs or video of damage to your buildings and inventory prior to site cleanup.
Remember that hurricane preparedness is an ongoing process, and it’s crucial to involve employees in the planning and preparation efforts.
Regularly review and update your hurricane preparedness plan to account for changes in your business and community; conduct regular training sessions and drills to ensure that employees are familiar with emergency procedures; and encourage open communication and feedback to continually improve your business’s hurricane readiness. If you have any questions, contact an Avery representative.