When a Hurricane Watch or Hurricane Warning is broadcast, take immediate action. Consult your disaster business continuity plan, if you have one. Even if you haven’t created a plan, you can take steps to protect your business, your staff and yourself.
- Store items, such as signs and outdoor furniture that could be picked up by the wind, inside the building
- Test all generators, emergency lighting, UPS equipment and sump pumps to ensure proper operation.
- Monitor commercial TV, radio, and/or Internet web sites to keep abreast of weather conditions and issuance of watches and/or warnings. Tune it to National Weather Service broadcasts.
- If you don’t have emergency supplies on hand, obtain them now. This includes plywood for windows if you don’t have shutters. You also may need mops, brooms, tarpaulins for key equipment, sandbags, etc.
- Close windows, doors and hurricane shutters. If you do not have hurricane shutters, close and board up all windows and doors with plywood.
- Turn off propane tanks and unplug small appliances.
- Store jewelry inventory in the safe.
- Assure that your computer system is fully backed up. Make a copy of key information (inventory records, repair goods, vendors, contacts) on a flash drive to take with you in the event the storm hits.
- Charge cell phones and download the NOAA Now or NOAA Weather app.
- Cover computers, machinery, supplies and other areas with tarps. Avoid storing materials on the floor if water could damage them.
- Fill your car’s gas tank.
- Talk with staff members and create an evacuation plan.
- Evacuate if advised by authorities. Be careful to avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges.
Because most business insurance doesn’t cover flooding, consider flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (www.FloodSmart.gov).
After the Storm:
- Survey for damage. Take pictures of any damage to the buildings and their contents.
- Secure the building to protect it from further damage or looting.
- Contact your security company and insurance broker or carrier to report damage and receive advice about next steps.
- Avoid loose or dangling power lines and report them to the local utility company, police or fire department.
- Before utilities are returned to service, check for gas leaks, look for electrical system damage and check for sewage and water line damage.
- Begin salvage operations as soon as possible. Clean debris from roofs and property if safe to do so.
- Use telephone only for emergency calls.
- Stay tuned to local radio and the National Weather Service for information
Critique your pre- and post-storm actions to identify strengths and weaknesses and make necessary modifications to prepare for the next emergency.