Every year private residents hear a lot about preparing for hurricane season—but what if you own a business? Are there any hurricane-readiness actions Sarasota/Bradenton/Lakewood Ranch business owners should perform?
Business owners should also make plans for hurricane season. How you prepare depends on your type of business, and what assets, property, data, and people you need to protect. Below are some general considerations. For detailed instructions, see ready.gov’s Ready Business Hurricane Toolkit.
Assess your risks
When a hurricane approaches, what will be the biggest risks to your business? Wind damage to structures, flooding, power outages, losing data, losing inventory? Will you and/or employees need to shelter in place?
Check your business insurance coverage—will it be adequate for your needs? If you have any questions, contact your insurance agent. (If you need a business insurance quote, please call us at 941-747-4600.)
Don’t wait until a storm is bearing down on you to decide what hurricane readiness plans you need to make for your business. Make a list of any items that need to be bought or stored, and set out in writing your business hurricane preparedness plan.
Create your business hurricane preparedness plan
Once you know which risks you need to account for, start preparing immediately. You should communicate with and include your employees in your plans, as they may have their own roles to play in your hurricane preparedness plans.
Some actions you might take to prepare include:
Make a checklist of things to do just before a hurricane (click here for a downloadable hurricane preparedness checklist for businesses).
If your business relies on stored data, sign up for data storage and/or backup services if you don’t already have them. If your business has physical files or other important physical documents, make sure you have waterproof containers to store them in.
Create an emergency communications plan to keep in touch with employees, clients, and suppliers. Make sure you have up-to-date contact information for these people, and that information is readily accessible. Include contact information for your insurance agent and business insurance company.
Find a place to store vehicles and movable equipment to protect them from wind and water damage.
If you own your own building, be prepared to secure it as you would your residence. In addition, examine roof-mounted and other signs, benches, vehicles, outbuildings, and other outside items, such as potted plants. Decide how you’ll secure or store them before a hurricane strikes.
Find a suggested evacuation route.
If you or any of your employees will shelter in place, stockpile a three-day supply of water and non-perishable food, flashlights, a battery-operated radio and cell phone charger, a first aid kit, and bedding where you will be staying.
Locate a secondary location you can use for your business if your primary location isn’t safe or accessible.
Enact your plan
When a hurricane is forecast, track the storm using sources such as the National Weather Service and your local news station. Secure your property, evacuate, or shelter in place. Monitor local authorities using a radio or the internet if possible.
Return to work safely
Once the storm has passed, contact employees to check on them. Watch for any warnings from local authorities, and only return to your business when it’s safe to do so. Be careful of damaged buildings, downed power lines, and so on. If your business has been damaged, take photos or video, and call your insurance agent or insurance company to report the damage.
We at Lakewood Financial hope the 2022 hurricane season passes us by, but in the event that it does not, we hope these tips prove helpful. If you need business or personal insurance, please consider calling us for a quote. You can reach us at 941-747-4600, or click here to contact us online. We’ve been serving Bradenton, Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, and surrounding communities for many years—and many hurricane seasons!