While forecasters can tell you a seven-day outlook, extreme weather is unpredictable. Moreover, it’s costly for the nation’s businesses. Even a seemingly small event, like electrical surges and outages, cost the U.S. economy $150 billion in damages annually. No business, regardless of its size or location, is immune to a disaster and its aftermath.
The U.S. Small Business Administration estimates that 25 percent of businesses affected by disasters do not reopen. With hurricane season approaching, it’s vital for business owners to protect their investments by preparing for hurricane damage well before a storm is on the radar.
Assess Your Business’s Readiness for Hurricane Damage
From distinguishing the different hurricane category ratings to familiarizing yourself with local emergency management plans, tackling a disaster preparedness and recovery plan may seem overwhelming. Your answers to the following questions will help you determine the action plans your business needs to complete to prepare, stay safe, and respond.
- What processes are critical to business continuity after a hurricane? Maintaining important documents, the responsibilities of key personnel, and customer support are just a few of the processes vital to reopening the doors of your business.
- What assets are the most vulnerable to damage during a hurricane? By identifying these assets, you can take steps to protect them. For example, a business on the bottom level of a building could experience water damage to documents.
- How would you safeguard the assets identified in Question 2 and ensure business continuity? Using the example above, a business might mitigate document-related risks by storing old files at an off-site location and storing digital copies of all the documents handled in a secure cloud server. If physical documents receive water damage during a hurricane, key personnel would still have access to important documents from a remote location.
- Does your business have an emergency disaster plan? A comprehensive plan includes preparedness steps to take for the different hurricane category ratings, contact information for important individuals and support services (e.g., restoration specialist), evacuation routes, and risk mitigation protocols. One of the most important elements to include in a disaster plan is a plan to recover after the storm passes.
- Did you share the plan with key stakeholders and test it? Sharing the disaster plan with leadership and employees helps everyone prepare the business for a storm. The feedback they provide will help improve your efforts. Testing the plan will identify challenges that you didn’t expect, allowing you to correct them before a storm arrives.
- Do your employees know what to do if there’s a disaster to stay safe and assist with recovery efforts? A disaster plan is only as good as those who implement it. Hold disaster preparedness meetings and conduct drills regularly to ensure all employees know how to stay safe, prepare the business for a storm and assist with continuity efforts.
- Does your business have a disaster team? A disaster team is a group of individuals who help create, implement and update a disaster preparedness and recovery plan.
- What roles do the members of the disaster team have? Each member should have specific responsibilities to ensure the proper implementation of the disaster plan.
- Does the plan include important contacts and communications methods? It’s important to identify who can support your business if it suffers losses during a hurricane. These individuals include vendors, insurance agents, and disaster recovery services.
You don’t have to plan for a disaster on your own. Polygon’s complimentary Code Blue program helps protect one of the greatest assets in your organization, its physical documents. When you enroll, Polygon becomes an invaluable partner that assists with creating a document disaster recovery plan. You’ll also receive expert guidance in reducing hurricane damage costs with our comprehensive drying services and affordable equipment rentals. Contact Polygon today to sign up for Code Blue and enhance your disaster preparedness and recovery efforts.