Prepare for severe damage, hope for none.

Businesses have multiple needs for hurricane preparedness

Planning and preparation are the keys to protecting people and property amid a storm.

2024 Hurricane Season

Forecasters are predicting a busier-than-average hurricane season for Florida. According to FEMA.gov, about 25% of businesses do not reopen after disasters. Now’s the time to prepare your business and encourage your employees to secure their homes and safeguard their loved ones.

Numerous resources exist to develop your business’s disaster preparedness and recovery plan. We think one of the best is offered by Florida Power & Light. The following are some key points to consider. For more details, click here.

Determine if your business is in a flood and evacuation zone and review evacuation routes. If appropriate, identify a temporary emergency site. You can check FEMA’s flood maps to determine if your business location is vulnerable to storm surge or freshwater flooding.

Have a licensed professional inspect your building(s) to determine whether your workplace is vulnerable to hurricane-force winds. Based on the assessment’s recommendations, consider retrofitting your facility.

Create A Plan

Create a hurricane plan for your business. Update this plan annually and review it with your team to facilitate recovery efforts. Include action items such as reopening plans, pre- and post-storm staffing lists, storm training materials, and contact lists.

Prepare for potential power outages by updating the phone number and email address on your FPL account. Consider installing a generator at your facility, particularly if your operations require refrigeration. If you have a generator, be sure to stock up on fuel.

If you plan to take shelter at your business, establish a safe area away from exterior windows and doors.

Determine the staffing and materials needed to secure your building and essential equipment.

Decide who will help secure your facility, outline specific tasks for those employees, and conduct training sessions throughout the year.

Consider helping employees and their families with supplies post-storm.

Insurance Coverage

Review your insurance coverage and photograph or videotape your building or office—inside and outside. Remember to document and inventory equipment and supplies and your building’s building state.

Have copies of insurance policies and the associated contact information, including phone numbers and emails.

Make sure you have the appropriate insurance coverage. That may include, but is not limited to, Business Interruption Insurance, Accounts Receivable, Valuable Papers Coverage, income Destruction Insurance, and Flood Insurance.

Have your business appraised at least every five years.

If your business sustains damage, contact us immediately to assist you with your insurance claim and ensure it is handled correctly and you receive the full benefit of your insurance policy.

Employee Safety

Ensure your employees’ contact information is up-to-date and that you have a plan to communicate with them after a storm passes. Consider setting up a telephone number with a recorded message that will be regularly updated to inform employees of the status of company operations following a storm.

Establish a rendezvous point and time for employees in case communications are disrupted.

Encourage your employees to address their preparations to keep themselves and their families safe.

Prepare a list of vendors to provide disaster recovery services.

Consider developing a system to authorize re-entry to company facilities after a storm, such as I.D. cards, vehicle permits, etc.

Here is a handy reference from the State of Florida to assist in your planning and information on sales tax holidays for related purchases.

Planning and preparation are essential for helping your business through a disaster, including the impacts of a hurricane. Now is the time to prepare.

Article by Sharon Hillstrom

Sharon Hillstrom is president and CEO of the Bradenton Area Economic Development Corp. (BradentonAreaEDC.com). She may be contacted at info@bradentonareaedc.com or 941-803-9036.

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