It’s no secret that hurricanes cause millions – even billions – of dollars to companies a year.
It’s not just about lost profits. In some cases, commercial buildings are blown away, expensive equipment is destroyed, and employees even become trapped in buildings.
Are you ready for a hurricane?
In this post, we’ll tell you how to prepare for a storm when it comes to your business or commercial property.
You’ve invested too much time, money, and even emotional labor into your company to let a storm take it all away from you.
Rely on our hurricane preparedness advice to learn how you can fight back, and protect your company from a natural disaster.
1. Create a Plan with Your Team.
A storm can strike at any time.
And while in most cases, you’ll have enough warning about an approaching storm or potential disaster before it arrives? In some cases, your team members will still be trapped at the office, unable to get home.
You need to ensure that you’re prepared for a potential worst-case scenario, and that you have an excellent disaster plan in place.
Think of a disaster plan as a part of your overall security strategy – and as a financial safeguard.
Assign your team members different responsibilities. This hurricane preparedness checklist for businesses from the National Hurricane Survival Initiative is an excellent place to start.
For example, someone on your team should be responsible for unplugging/turning off any electronics (if still safe.) Another team member will be responsible for calling for help. Someone else should be assigned to lead employees along a safe evacuation route, or down to a shelter.
You should have routine hurricane and other natural disaster drills, to make sure that your team knows how to prepare for a storm. Talk about safe spaces in the office, as well.
Make sure that you always have the right tools and provisions on hand in case of an emergency.
For example, do you have non-perishables in your office kitchen? A first aid kit? Have you assembled emergency contact information for each employee, as well as the contact info for local fire, hospital, and police services?
Have you invested in high-quality storm windows and, if needed, sandbags in case of flooding?
And how often do you back up your work documents in case a hurricane or storm causes a system crash?
These are all things we suggest you start thinking about sooner rather than later.
2. Get the Right Equipment.
The next step in understanding how to prepare for a hurricane at work?
Once you’ve created a great evacuation plan and assigned roles, you need to make sure that you have the right equipment.
It’s not just about finding tools that will help make getting through the storm a bit more comfortable for everyone.
It’s about ensuring that your computer system doesn’t fail, that you can use phone lines to call for help, and even that food in the fridge doesn’t spoil. (Hey, you’re not about to let those amazing leftovers from last night become a hurricane casualty.)
So, which piece of equipment can do all of that and more? You guessed it – a generator.
Because we’re willing to bet that you have a pretty large amount of electronics in your office, we suggest going with an industrial diesel Generator for sale.
Diesel generators combine the power of a standard electric generator with the energy of a diesel engine, so you’ll be in good hands.
Just make sure that you get the correct size of generator for your office or commercial building.
Before a storm, think about the electronics that you absolutely need to be able to power. This will likely include your lights, your computer systems, and your phone lines.
You should also consider the average run time of the generator you’re thinking of getting. For best results, we suggest looking into a model that can run for a minimum of ten hours. You may also need to select a generator that has plenty of outlets, so that team members can plug in their phones and other electronics.
Especially if you need to run lots of electronics, you should look for models with a wattage of 15-30kW.
Anything less likely won’t do the trick.
3. Focus on the Physical Building.
If you want to learn how to prepare for a storm, you also need to understand what it takes to physically protect your place of business.
Whether you have an office building or work in your actual store, there are things that you can do to mitigate the damage you will suffer from.
First of all, take a look at your roof. Notice any loose shingles, nails sticking out, or tiles that look like they’re about to slide off?
If the wind picks up those materials, they can act as missiles and wrecking balls. Before the start of hurricane season, hire a professional roofing company to come assess the overall strength of your roof. They can even add links and strapping to the roof, which will make it more likely to stay on in a storm.
You should also take a look at your current windows and doors. Consider making the switch to hurricane windows, which are made from a thicker, wind-resistant glass. While these types of windows won’t always escape unscathed, they’re much more likely to crack than shatter completely.
This makes things much safer in your commercial building.
Also, take a hard look at the outside of your business. Notice any older trees or rotted branches hovering dangerously over your parking lot? They’re not exactly doing much to improve your curb appeal, and they can smash cars in the event of a storm.
Hire a landscaper to trim branches or remove old trees altogether.
Finally, consider reinforcing what you can with either steel or wooden beams. This is especially important if your business has carports or even more typical garage doors.
We suggest meeting with a professional contractor to talk about your reinforcement options before hurricane season.
4. Hurricanes and Your Insurance Policy.
Many people are so focused on the more obvious parts of hurricane preparedness, that they completely forget about one of the most important things of all: the financial side of things.
You’ve spent years, and hundreds of thousands of dollars (maybe even more) on building up your dream business. While we’re confident that you have some sort of insurance policy in place, make sure that it will actually protect you in a storm.
Depending on when you got the policy, the amount of coverage it provides may not actually be enough to finance today’s higher construction and raw materials costs. Additionally, it may not be able to cover the extent of severe hurricane damage.
You don’t want to end up footing the bill for things that you thought would be covered by your insurance plan. You also don’t want to have to close your doors for good just because you can’t afford to rebuild.
Sadly, it happens to smaller businesses all the time. And while many small, local businesses can rely on crowdfunding to replace some of their losses?
The truth is that you can’t depend on the goodness of people’s hearts — especially if they have to pay for damage to their own homes — to save your business. You have to get smart, and you absolutely need to be proactive when it comes to your insurance policy.
Before every storm season begins, we suggest that you sit down with a professional and completely evaluate your current insurance policy.
It’s also important that you take an inventory of your office equipment — and your equipment insurance policies, too.
It doesn’t matter if you have huge pieces of construction equipment, or if what you need to protect the most are your computers. List it all down.
You need to be sure you’ve found a policy that covers as much of the costs of replacing your equipment as is possible.
How to Prepare for a Storm: Wrapping Things Up.
We hope that this post has helped you to better understand a few of the most important parts of learning how to prepare for a storm when it comes to your business.
Remember to secure the building physically, and make sure everyone on your team is aware of your evacuation route and emergency plan.
You also need to get proactive when it comes to things like your business insurance policy and the storm survival equipment you have on hand.
Of course, preparing for a hurricane is far from the only way you can protect your business. You still need to think about things like cybersecurity, employee conduct, and much more.
No matter what you need to protect yourself against, keep checking back with our blog for more advice on how to make it happen.