Is Your Business Prepared for Storm Season? What to Do Now
June 19, 2018
By: Cathie Ericson
When a storm warning sweeps through the area, it can be tempting to hunker down at home. But most business owners don’t have that luxury: They need to stay open to make money. Or they may suddenly find themselves stuck at work as the snow flies or wind whips, without power, and unable to get home.
That’s why now is the time to prepare so you’re not caught off-guard when storm season arrives. Here are six steps that can help you approach the upcoming storm season with confidence.
1. Create a storm preparedness plan
Although most weather events are unexpected, it’s wise to create a plan that you can refer to if a storm becomes imminent. Having a plan that can be accessed both electronically and in hard copy can ensure that you don’t miss any steps as you are preparing for an emergency.
Don’t forget to include a contact list so that you can be in rapid touch with your insurance agent, as well as other important contacts, like clients and suppliers, so that you can carry on business as usual even if your computer files are inaccessible.
The plan should also include emergency contact information for each of your employees and protocol for how to decide when employees should come to work in inclement weather and who should inform them.
Also check to make sure you have adequate insurance, and sign up for weather-related text alerts now so you will be in the know.
2. Protect your physical premises
Mild weather is the perfect time to conduct an audit to see where you might need to complete maintenance on your location (or ask your landlord to). For example, check to see that trees aren’t leaning dangerously close to your property in case they blow down in a storm, and look for loose or missing roof shingles or gutters.
Also, you can find out from your local municipality what they suggest you keep on hand for storm safety, whether it’s plywood to cover your windows in case of a hurricane, sandbags to prevent flooding or rock salt to keep your sidewalks smooth. Make sure you have the tools you need to safely remove snow during the storm.
3. Safeguard your technology
If a storm is approaching, keep your devices charged; if the power goes out, they might be the only communication you have.
Then make sure your data is backed up. Many services rely on the internet to sync, so make sure you have done a recent sync before the internet or power goes out, in case you are able to work remotely and want access to recent files.
If your business has been offline for several days, consider making plans with your coworkers to get in touch with key customers and make sure you haven’t missed any important messages or deadlines in order to minimize impact to your business.
If your property is damaged, snap photos and take detailed notes to chronicle the problem, then make sure to get in touch with your insurance company to see what information they need.
6. Remember to always act with caution
Above all, make sure you are never putting your employees or customers in danger’s path. If that means closing until the brunt of the storm passes, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Cathie Ericson is a freelance writer covering business and consumer topics. She creates branded content for Fortune 500 companies, and her work has appeared in LearnVest, Costco Magazine, Forbes, TheGlassHammer.com and IDEA Fitness. Follow her @cathieericson.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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