Emergency Hurricane Preparation | Checklist for Business Owners & Operators

Overview of three hurricanes Irma, Jose and Katia in the Carribean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean - Elements of this image furnished by NASA

According to the American Red Cross, almost half of all small businesses affected by a major disaster, such as a tornado, flood, earthquake or hurricane, do not reopen their doors because they were unprepared for the disaster.

Even if a hurricane does not put your company out of business, you may not be able to make contact with your customers or obtain important deliveries. Below are some suggestions for emergency hurricane preparation.

Hurricane Preparation Suggestions

Consider incorporating the following hurricane preparation suggestions into your business to avoid unnecessary upsets in the event that disaster strikes:

  • Check local flood maps by clicking here. Also, if possible, have your building inspected by a licensed professional to ensure that the roof and other connections comply with the wind loading requirements for your area.

  • Consider installing impact-resistant film on your windows.

  • Gather a list of vendors and telephone numbers of individuals or entities that are critical to your daily operations. If you heavily rely on one or two vendors, consider adding a backup vendor outside of your area.

  • Prepare a list of companies that can assist you in recovery efforts, such as removing efforts, such as removing debris, moving and computer services.

  • Provide employees with a chain of command and list of responsibilities in the event that a disaster strikes.

  • Prepare a list of your employees and their contact information. Also find out where they may vacate to, if you are required to evacuate the city.

  • Arrange for communication with your clients and customers, in the event of a disaster, to keep them informed.

  • Constantly diversify your customer base, products and sales locations. This will prevent a major loss, if a majority of your customer base is also affected by the hurricane.

  • Designate a remote phone number on your voicemail system for which you can record messages to employees in the event of an emergency.

  • Arrange for programmable call forwarding of your business lines with the phone company. Then you can call and reprogram your phones from a remote location, if needed.

  • Back up your data on a frequent basis and keep this information off-site.

Emergency Supplies

  • Flashlight and extra batteries

  • Battery-Operated Radio

  • Ready-to-eat canned foods, fruits and vegetables. Also energy foods, such as granola bars. Select foods that do not require refrigeration, cooking, or preparation.

  • Water stored in plastic containers.

  • Urge employees to keep a three-day supply of their medication on-hand as well as pain relievers and stomach remedies.

  • Blankets.

  • Paper plates, cups and utensils.

  • Manual can opener.

  • Reading glasses.

  • First aid supplies:

    • Adhesive bandages

    • Sterile dressing

    • Roller guaze bandages

    • Triangular bandages

    • Guaze pads

    • Germicidal hand wipes and alcohol-based sanitizer

    • Non-latex gloves

    • Adhesive tape

    • Cold packs

    • Scissors

    • Tweezers

    • CPR face shield

Reducing Damage

  • Bolt tall bookcases and displays to the wall studs.

  • Secure breakable items in a stand using hook-and-loop fasteners.

  • Place large objects on low shelving.

  • Install latches on drawers to prevent them from flying open.

  • Secure pictures and mirrors to the wall with closed screw eyes and wire.

  • Secure your water heater to the wall studs with plumber’s tape or strap iron.

  • Install flexible connectors to appliances using natural gas and automatic fire sprinklers.

When Storms Are Imminent

Once you get word that a storm is coming, you must take immediate action. First, secure your facility by covering windows with shutters or plywood. Then, cover and move equipment to a more secure area. Also consider the following actions:

  • Back up your files and move the information off-site.

  • Make arrangements to use alternative means of communication, especially if you cannot shut down your systems completely.

  • Check your emergency supplies and stock up on any necessary items.

  • Help your employees get to their families safely. If it is not safe to leave the facility, establish a meeting point outside of the evacuation area for employees once you can leave.

HurricaneAmanda S