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Five Things Your Company Needs to Do Now to Prepare for a Hurricane

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June 1 marks the official beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season. Most people do some prepping on a personal level but is your business ready? Here is a list of five things your company needs to do in June before the first storm heads our way.

  1. Establish a plan. If you have not already created a disaster plan, now is the time to get it done. This plan needs to include the various scenarios you might encounter should you be at ground zero. Some of the items you need on this plan include:
    • Will you need to close and evacuate?
    • How do you notify your staff and customers?
    • Do you have an alternate location to operate your business should your building be without utilities or be inhabitable?
    • How will you access company data such as customer or patient records?
  2. Check your backups. It is so easy to get complacent with backups. Whether you are backing up to media or backing up to the cloud, now is the time to evaluate it. Not only do you need to ensure you are getting proper backups, you also need to ensure you are backing up everything critical. More than once, we have helped a company recover a backup only to learn a critical directory or database was left out. If you are still backing up to media, you need to do a test restore to be sure the backup is valid.
  3. Develop a communications plan. If there are power outages, landline phones, and cell phones may not work. If your business is mission-critical, you need to ensure you have an alternative means of communication such as satellite phones. Texting is also a great means of communication after storms. When bandwidth is scarce, you might not be able to make a phone call, but you will likely be able to send texts.
  4. Create an emergency response team (ERT). It is good to define a skeleton crew that can carry out your disaster plan. You must develop clear roles and responsibilities for each team member. You must also ensure the team has contact information and instructions on how to proceed should they be unable to reach someone on the ERT. Once the storm passes, you should have the ERT contact your entire staff to ensure they are safe and do not have any immediate needs. Be sure to not only train this team but consider doing some role-play exercises to be sure everyone is on the same page.
  5. Secure your building(s). Before leaving for the storm, it is smart to walk through your building and unplug any mechanical or computer equipment to protect it from surges. You may also want to consider covering key equipment with plastic tarps or bags in case of moisture intrusion. Also, if you have confidential paper files or portable media, be sure these are stored in a locked cabinet or safe. Should your building become insecure, you want to know your data is safe. Depending on your location, you may also want to install hurricane shutters. If you have a generator, be sure you test that early in the season and insure you have fuel ready.

This is by no means an exhaustive list but should give most small businesses a good start. If you would like help developing a comprehensive list, we’d love to help. Contact us for a free consultation.

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