Hurricanes can cause catastrophic damage to businesses, with high winds, heavy rain, and storm surges leading to power outages, property damage, and lost revenue. Businesses must act proactively to protect their properties and ensure that they are prepared for the worst-case scenario.
Business owners should consider these seven steps during the off-season to protect their facilities and reduce the risks of hurricane damage.
Look for evidence of structural damage and remediate it promptly to reduce the impact of leaks. Trim tree branches and shrubs that could fall during a storm and remove any dead or diseased trees and limbs. Consider installing hurricane shutters or impact-resistant glass to protect windows, and reinforce doors with heavy-duty locks and hinges.
Also, secure any outdoor equipment or materials that could become airborne during a hurricane. This includes signage, outdoor furniture, and anything else that could be picked up by high winds and damage your property or neighboring properties.
In the event of a power outage or damage to your computer systems, having a backup of your data can mean the difference between a temporary setback and a complete loss of your business.
There are several ways to back up your data, including cloud storage, external hard drives, and tape backups. Choose a backup solution that fits your business needs and budget, and test your backups regularly to ensure that they are working properly.
Having backup power sources can help keep your business running during an outage and reduce the impact on your operations. Options for backup power sources include generators, solar panels, and batteries. Establishing a partnership with a disaster recovery firm can also aid in securing generators in time for a storm.
If you decide to invest in a generator, make sure that it is properly sized and installed by a professional. Test the generator regularly to ensure that it is in good working order.
The plan should include procedures for evacuation, communication, and emergency response, as well as a checklist of important tasks to complete before and after a hurricane. Make sure that all employees are familiar with the plan and know what to do in the event of a hurricane.
As part of this plan, take a pre-disaster inventory. Make sure you survey your buildings, vehicles, equipment, electronics, important documents, supplies, and other belongings. Store this record digitally, in the cloud, to ensure you always have access. This can help the insurance company and your restoration company determine the costs of replacement and repair. May, the month before hurricane season begins, is the perfect time to conduct this yearly inventory. Photos and videos can be invaluable evidence in substantiating any claims.
Most standard commercial insurance policies do not cover flood damage, including water from a storm surge, so if your business is located in a flood-prone area, you may need to purchase additional coverage. You should also review your policy to understand what is covered and what is not, and make sure that you have a clear understanding of your deductible.
If you have engaged a disaster recovery services provider, they should be able to share details about projected storm tracks and potential damage. Inform employees of any changes to your business operations and notify customers and vendors of any closures or disruptions.
Choosing a firm in advance can ensure you get priority service when a hurricane strikes and can give you peace of mind that your property is in good hands.
Leading companies offer emergency response agreements that ensure professionals are on call when a disaster looms. They also offer advanced technology, such as 3D imaging tools, that can expedite damage inspection, reducing the time required to understand the scope of a loss. If your business has multiple locations in different states, it is likely a good idea to engage a provider with national coverage who can ensure they have the personnel and resources to address your needs.
Protecting your business from hurricane damage requires careful planning and preparation. Taking the steps outlined in this article can expedite recovery from a hurricane. To discuss additional steps with a qualified restoration professional, including establishing an emergency response agreement, get in touch with us today.