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5 Ways to Protect Your Business for Hurricane Season

The updated 2018 seasonal Atlantic forecast was released just this morning and experts at Colorado State University are now calling for an "approximately average" hurricane season. But average still means storm activity. In fact, an average year constitutes six hurricanes and two major hurricanes and which means it's still in your best interest to be prepared regardless of the changing forecasts. Whether the U.S. ends up with one hurricane making landfall or six big storms, it's always a good idea to plan ahead and prepare your business early on so that you are ready for whatever Mother Nature may have in store. Here are five things you can do now to be prepared, in case a destructive hurricane makes landfall in your area:

1. Avoid Complacency
This year, the experts are predicting an average hurricane season with 13 storms. However, having an average year doesn't mean a significant weather event won’t hit your area. 

2. Perform a Business Impact Analysis 
The ability to plan for a smooth recovery from a hurricane requires a clear understanding of the potential impact to your business. A business impact analysis (BIA) is a good first step toward implementing a comprehensive and effective recovery plan. It should involve every department in the organization and never assume that one department understands the critical processes of other departments. Click here to read more about the key questions you should ask while performing a BIA. 

3. Perform a Pre-loss Assessment
Many business owners are caught off guard by the high costs of repairs following a disaster. And making informed and good decisions can be very difficult when you’re scrambling as fast as fast as possible to reopen doors. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a professional restoration company perform a pre-loss assessment. An assessment can help you determine replacement and repair estimates so you can ensure you have adequate insurance to protect your property and physical assets. 

4. Create a Response Plan—and Practice
In any type of disaster, the top priority is protecting the health and livelihood of customers and employees with a response plan. Ready.gov suggests that an emergency preparation plan should include (at minimum) the following:
  • Systems of communication for reaching customers/guests, employees and emergency services organizations
  • A clear evacuation plan for customers and employees
  • A rendezvous point for employees to meet and organize
Every employee should be familiar with your emergency plan, so they know what to do when a disaster occurs. Regular training sessions should be held to ensure your plan remains intact and will be well orchestrated if the unexpected event happens.
 
5. Partner with Trustworthy Restoration Contractors—Before an Event
Employing an “ounce of prevention” by establishing a working relationship with a restoration contractor is key to a quick restoration after a disaster. Otherwise, you’ll waste valuable days or even weeks simply trying to line up help, when you could be getting your business back online. And if you end up with an inexperienced contractor, they may underbid or simply not have the resources to manage a large-scale commercial project. Here are a few things to consider when looking for a reputable provider:
  • Safety—A company’s safety record can be a good indication of their competency and efficacy so it’s important to find a restoration company with a strong safety track record
  • Experience—A provider who has seen and responded to many types of disasters is likely better prepared for unexpected circumstances
  • References—The option to check references before you are desperate is important because it gives you time to consider whether the contractor is a good fit for your company.
As Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D., NOAA administrator recently reiterated: "It’s important to remember it takes only one land falling storm to cause a disaster.” Now is the time to plan ahead.


Resources:
http://www.weather.com/news/weather-hurricanes/hurricane-season-outlook-atlantic-2014-el-nino-20140324 
http://www.weather.com/news/weather-hurricanes/sudden-hurricanes-surprise-tropical-storms-alicia-allison-humberto-20130814 
http://www.scitechnol.com/2324-9129/2324-9129-1-101.pdf 
http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2014/20140522_hurricaneoutlook_atlantic.html
 

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