The 6 Essential Business Areas to Prepare for a Hurricane

Summer is drawing to a close, the school year is ramping up, and the Atlantic is churning up concern from the Keys to the Carolinas. For many small to mid-market companies, hurricane concerns often take a backseat to daily operations until the storm has passed, and the damage is done. In fact, 40% of small business that close due to hurricane damage, do not reopen, according to FEMA and the US Department of Labor.

Although Mother Nature can be unpredictable, your business security does not need to be, and so FEMA has identified six key arenas for you to keep top-of-mind this hurricane season:

  • Staff - Keeping Your Team Safe

    Develop a plan that will allow you to issue payroll, even if cashflow is temporarily interrupted. Your doors might be closed, but your employees will continue to have bills to pay and needs to fill. Your internal talent is your organization’s most important asset, so providing them with peace of mind before and after a storm can drastically improve your return to normal operations. If your business is at-risk to flooding, also consider flood insurance policies, and caution employees to do the same.

  • Surroundings - Protecting Your Space from Potential Hazards

    Coordinate with your management company, landlord, or professional engineers regarding securing of signs, flagpoles, or local landscaping and trees. Maintain vigilance about areas of potential vulnerability and notify the appropriate parties in advance of a storm. This will allow for the removal or assessment to be completed in a timely, thorough fashion.

  • Space - Preserving the Contents of Your Workplace

    Relocate your critical documents and materials above flood levels, preferably utilizing waterproof containers. For some, if your business uses any forms of chemicals, be conscious to safeguard these contents from damage or leaking, which could contribute to more clean-up after the storm. Be conscious that water damage could also occur from leaking windows, ceilings, or broken pipes.

  • Systems - Maintaining Building Operations

    Understand what capacities your company will have if your access to electricity, internet, or even copiers becomes limited. If you’re relying on generators, recognize how much power you will need to operate as normal, or where you can cut corners, if needed. Consult a trained professional to ensure your systems and structures are on par with the intensity of any potential hurricanes, vetting utility connectors, fuel tanks, water systems, and other critical equipment.

  • Structure - Preventing Building Damage

    Structural risks require professional expertise to assess and implement measures that protect your business. The size, shape, and design of your workplace will drastically impact what items you choose to address. A few areas to assess may be the safety of canopies/awnings, windows, gutters, and your roof. Although many businesses take internal precaution, only a true expert can identify high-risk areas for improvement that the untrained eye can miss.

  • Service - Supporting Your Community

    Once your company has invested in the above areas, your business is able to identify opportunities to assist your community following a hurricane. Identify ways to engage by staying up-to-date on local news, contact your local American Red Cross, or solicit feedback from your team about areas of need. Whether your company offers donations, time, supplies, or even electricity, every contribution plays a meaningful role in rebuilding the communities that serve us year-round.

This season don’t let a hurricane rain on your business’ parade: keep your people safe, your customers happy, and your future secure. If your company is interested to learn more about Hurricane Preparedness, take a look at FEMA’s ‘Ready Business’ Hurricane Toolkit, which provides insightful recommendations on how to support all six of the areas above, including a Risk Assessment and actionable checklist.