If you own a business, it is important to plan for disasters. You must also be aware that different types of disasters can affect the business.
At the Start of the Hurricane Season
- Ensure that the structure of the building is in good condition. For example, secure roofs and windows.
- Secure hurricane shutters, hooks and latches.
- Identify emergency power requirements and make arrangements for use of a generator. Determine availability of computer support for computer users who need to remain operational during a hurricane.
- Stock up on emergency supplies such as a:
- First Aid Kit
- Food and water supplies for members of staff who have to be at work
- Battery - operated radio/television set
- Flashlight and batteries
- Management should ensure that there is adequate insurance coverage for the building and the extent of coverage firmly established:
- Does the insurance cover damage to contents including vital records and office equipment, as well as liability coverage for injury to employees?
- Does the coverage take into consideration whether your business is in a high risk area or a flood prone area?
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When a Hurricane Watch is Issued
Taking precautionary measures does not mean that the task is complete. Once a hurricane watch is issued, certain measures must be taken. These include:
- Identifying and protecting vital records such as accounts, receipts, customer records, tax records and other personnel and administrative documents. These maybe placed in storage cabinets or wrapped in plastic. If necessary, temporarily relocate to an off-site storage facility.
- Storing chemicals, fertilizers and other toxic materials in a safe section of the building in waterproof containers.
- Ensuring that roofing is secured and removing from compound all loose objects, which might cause damage during strong winds.
- Taping all glass windows and showcase to secure them. If your building has extensive glass frontage, clear out that section of the building as much as possible and use shutters to protect the glass. If shutters are not available strong masking tape should be used to tape "X" across the glass to prevent splinters from scattering in case the glass shatters.
- Securing all furniture and equipment above water level, battening doors firmly and securing shutters especially if business is located in flood prone areas.
- Moving heavy-duty equipment to a safe location.
- Dismissing essential employees temporarily so they can secure their property before returning to duty.
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When a Hurricane Warning is Issued
If the hurricane continues on its path and a hurricane warning is put into effect additional measures should be taken by the organization.
- Removing all outdoor hazards such as television antennae and hanging signs.
- Releasing non-essential staff to prepare their homes.
- Wrapping office equipment such as copy machines and computers in plastic to protect against damage.
- Moving desk, files, equipment and furniture away from windows without shutters to on area where they will be safe.
- Disconnecting electrical equipment, turning off lights and all air conditioners.
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After a Hurricane
- Take down shutters.
- Effect emergency repairs.
- Check electrical equipment to make sure they are working properly. Be alert to prevent fires.
- Clear debris
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