3 Tips to Prepare Your Business for Storm & Hurricane Season
3 key areas to focus on when preparing your business for heavy storms, hurricanes and other weather-related disasters
Especially for those living relatively close to the coastline, being prepared for heavy storms and hurricanes is a critical safety precaution that every homeowner must take. The same weather-safety responsibility extends to businesses and business owners, too — as keeping employees, the facility and business assets safe is a must.
Camp Hall, a next-generation commerce park located about 30 miles from coastal Charleston, SC, urges businesses to take these proactive steps today to prepare for and protect themselves and their employees from destructive weather and other natural disasters that could be in store tomorrow:
1. PROTECT EMPLOYEES
The top priority when disaster strikes, of course, is keeping employees and customers out of harm’s way. Among the ways a business can help ensure the safety of its people:
- Create a hurricane preparedness plan/risk management plan — Well before hurricane season or storm season arrives, create a plan that lets workers know exactly what to do and how the business will operate when/if a natural disaster strikes. Train employees on safety-related skills and procedures such as office storm safety, CPR administration, a building escape plan, general disaster preparedness, and any hazardous materials information they may need to know. And provide details on who employees should contact when different types of emergency situations present themselves, with details including 9-1-1, the police and fire departments, FEMA, insurance providers, etc. As the old saying says, “An ounce of preparedness is worth a pound of cure” — and this rings especially true when it comes to preparing for a disaster.
- Keep emergency supplies on hand — Having a collection of regularly needed emergency supplies on hand and in a known location can be a big help when, for example, the power goes out or a fire breaks out. Among the items to consider including in any emergency-preparedness kit:
– a battery-operated radio
– a basic tool kit
– a whistle and signal flare for summoning any needed help
– tarps, plastic bags and duct tape
– fire extinguishers
– an electric generator and gas
- Establish mid- and post-disaster work policies — Before disaster strikes, have plans in place for how the business will operate if the building is inaccessible or driving to the office will present dangers for commuting employees. If the business provides critical services, communicate particulars around essential employees and operations. Establish lines of communication so that employees can know when/if the business will be open, how they’ll know what their work responsibilities are if the business’s physical location is closed, etc. If remote-work capabilities are in place, let employees know when telecommuting is an option and how to access the resources they’ll need to work remotely. Further, review company policies such as those governing paid leave, health insurance and sick time to determine whether or not added flexibility can be introduced during challenging times, such as those during and following a natural disaster. Of course, giving employees added leniency and understanding/accommodating their challenges during such tough times is a great way to make them feel valued and show that the company cares about them and their well-being.
2. PROTECT PROPERTY AND FACILITIES
Taking a number of storm-prep steps before a natural disaster strikes can go a long way toward protecting a business’s facilities, property and possessions when inclement weather arrives. The following are among the precautions that can help protect a business from the dangers presented by hurricanes, tornadoes, tropical storms, storm surge and the like:
- Ensure window and door protection — Installing storm shutters or boarding windows and doors with plywood can protect the building and its contents when heavy winds and storms threaten.
- Have the roof inspected — Roofing professionals can evaluate a building’s roof before storm season approaches and make any needed upgrades or repairs to ensure that it is prepared to withstand a storm.
- Trim trees as needed — Remove any branches or trees would pose a danger to the building if they fell as a result of heavy winds.
- Protect against flooding — When storm surge or other flooding threatens, sandbagging any areas that are prone to flooding can help prevent storm-related water damage.
- Move valuables to safe places — When storms or flooding are imminent, relocate valuables, fragile items and technological devices to places where they’ll be safe. If the facility has a second level, moving such items there can help prevent them from being damaged by floodwaters.
3. PROTECT BUSINESS-CRITICAL DOCUMENTS AND INFORMATION
When preparing for the worst, any business’s crisis-management plan and disaster-recovery plan should also consider the important documents, files and information the business will need to move forward in the wake of a disaster. Among the precautions to consider in this area:
- Safeguard critical documents — Determine ahead of time which office documents and files are essential to business operations, and have a plan in place for protecting them from harm before a disaster strikes. Common candidates here include any computer files related to in-progress work, along with important documents related to employees, suppliers, lawyers, banking, accounting, etc.
- Ensure data backups — Important digital files can be backed up by saving them to the cloud or to an external hard drive — if going the latter route, though, make sure that the hard drive is put in a safe place before any threatening weather or other damaging elements arrive. It’s also a good idea to create backup copies of any physical documents that can’t be easily retrieved if damaged by floodwaters, such as legal contracts, tax returns, insurance documents and accounting statements. The originals and copies should also be sealed in water-tight containers and put in a safe place on- or off-site.
Located in Berkeley County, South Carolina, and developed by South Carolina utility provider Santee Cooper, next-generation commerce park Camp Hall offers all the infrastructure and conveniences needed to power the most modern of today’s businesses, as well as the businesses of tomorrow. To see all the benefits Camp Hall can provide to support your business’s needs, visit the Camp Hall website. To learn more about campus availability for your business plans, view our available sites. And if you have any questions at all about our master-planned commerce park, contact us today.
To learn more about Santee Cooper’s wide range of efforts to power economic development in South Carolina and support industries relocating and expanding to the state, visit poweringsc.com.