The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season begins on June 1. According to the initial predictions from Colorado State University, this year’s hurricane activity isn’t expected to be quite as bad as last year’s. That’s good news, since the 2017 hurricane season was especially bad, with six major hurricanes.
Hopefully, 2018 won’t be as destructive, but the prediction still calls for 14 named storms and three major hurricanes. There’s a 63 percent chance that a hurricane will make landfall on the U.S. coastline. Preparation is essential. Here’s how businesses can prepare for the hurricane season.
Create a Plan
A store manager of a fast food chain in Jacksonville, Florida, sparked public outrage after telling employees that they would be punished if they missed work due to Hurricane Irma evacuations. According to Time, a notice to employees said, “You cannot evacuate Friday for a Tuesday storm event” – even though parts of the city were under mandatory evacuation orders on Friday. The fast food chain responded by stating that this was not official policy and that the manager did not follow company guidelines.
Things can get hectic as a storm approaches. Create a hurricane plan, well ahead of time, and make sure all managers follow it.
Your plan should include the circumstances under which the business will close, as well as employee and customer communication guidelines before and after the hurricane. Also see OSHA’s requirements for an emergency action plan.
Secure the Premises
A chemical plant in Houston experienced two explosions after Hurricane Harvey flooded the area. According to Bloomberg, the flooding knocked out the power that was needed to keep the volatile chemicals cool.
To prevent and reduce damage, all businesses should take steps to secure their premises against approaching hurricanes and tropical storms.
- Protect or back up important documents.
- Secure or remove valuable or dangerous items.
- Turn off utilities, including electricity, gas and water, before evacuating.
- Disconnect appliances and electronics.
- Secure windows with shutters or plywood.
- Bring outdoor signs, furniture and other items inside if possible.
For more tips, see the Business Checklist at the National Hurricane Survival Initiative.
Check Your Insurance Coverage
According to FEMA, 40 to 60 percent of small businesses never reopen after a disaster.
One way to beat the odds is to maintain adequate insurance. Check your company’s insurance policies and make sure you have adequate hurricane and flood coverage. It’s important to have coverage for property damage as well as business interruption.
Contact the business insurance professionals at Higginbotham. We’ll help you prepare for Mother Nature’s worst and keep your business on solid ground.