With the June 1 arrival of Atlantic hurricane season, hurricane preparedness is top of mind for many businesses. (And with good reason.) Mother Nature tends to be unpredictable, and experts anticipate a busy season. At BCH, our risk management professionals encourage everyone to take measures to ensure the safety of their property, structures — and, most importantly, people — as the season progresses.
Of course, hurricane preparedness doesn’t begin and end with that ever-important hurricane kit you’ll be pulling together. To truly keep things safe and secure, you should have a plan in place for every stage of a storm. Read on to learn more.
Before a Storm Enters the Gulf
Although modern technology means we tend to have plenty of warning before hurricanes churn into town, you shouldn’t wait to begin making preparations.
- Assess your coverage and property. We recommend reviewing such coverage at the start of every storm season to ensure you have the right protections in place. In addition, review and document any equipment and vehicles you have on-site. Walk through your property snapping pictures or shooting video, and be sure to include closets, drawers and storage spaces.
- Take steps to create a hurricane plan for your business. Who should leave in the event of evacuation orders? How will you keep in contact with team members? Where will you office out of in the event that damage occurs? FEMA’s Ready Business Hurricane Toolkit offers some fantastic insight.
- Have a trusted contractor at the ready. Extensive storm damage can leave contractors spread thin — and leave businesses waiting long stretches of time to get their work done. By reaching out ahead of time, you can help ensure your business is near the top of their list if repair work proves necessary.
- Pull together a hurricane kit similar to what your family has at home. Be sure to include things such as bottled water, cleaning supplies, a first aid kit, flashlights, batteries — and even nonperishable food. Of course, you’ll want to include a list of important contact numbers for insurance providers, claims professionals and the like. Our Disaster Recovery PDF is an excellent resource.
BCH Tip: Our Pre-Storm Checklist is a quick and easy way to make sure you have things covered. Download your copy here!
Once a Storm Makes its Arrival
At this stage of the game, it’s all about referring back to your hurricane preparedness plan and sticking with it. That plan is in place for a reason — to help you keep a calm head and move forward in the best way possible. Check back regularly with team members, and encourage them to take measures to keep both themselves and their families safe. Depending on your line of work, you might check in with clients, as well.
After a Storm Exits the Scene
Oftentimes for a business, a storm’s exit is just the beginning of the real work. You’ll want to quickly assess and address damages and related issues that could hinder your ability to reopen.
- Carry out a quick walk-through of the property, keeping an eye out for any and all damage. Make note of any issues, and be sure to document them through photos or videos.
- Make temporary repairs to avoid further issues. This might include placing a tarp over holes in roofs or broken windows, or drying out moisture-ridden areas. Avoid making permanent repairs until your insurance adjuster has completed an inspection.
- Report damages immediately. Doing so will get you in the queue for inspections and repair work, which is crucial during storms that affect many businesses. Remember, you face no penalty if you decide after the fact that you don’t need to file a claim.
BCH Tip: Our Post-Storm Checklist can help you make sure you’ve taken all the right steps. Download your copy here!
At BCH, we’re here to help. Even in the event of an expansive storm with widespread outages, our team will launch an off-site 24/7 service center, ensuring there is always someone available to assist with the claims process or everyday questions. Play it safe during storm season, friends! For more information, feel free to contact BCH at any time.