The Atlantic hurricane season begins Friday, June 1. With NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center warning that there is a 75-percent chance the 2018 season will be near or above normal, it’s important that small-business owners make sure their disaster plans are up to date or implement a plan if they don’t already have one.
Small-business owners should ask themselves how they would contact their employees, customers, and vendors. How would their employees reach them? What would happen to their business records? Would their insurance cover the damages? How long would it take to reopen? Could they reopen?
Here are some tips from NFIB about preparing for a hurricane or other disaster:
- Understand the risks. Your small business may be vulnerable to many types of disasters such as flooding and wildfires. 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, extra batteries, a phone charger, 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.