5 Steps to Prepare Your Business for a Natural Disaster

5 Steps to Prepare Your Business for a Natural Disaster

As we have been unfortunately reminded by Hurricane Idalia, preparing your business facility for natural disasters and severe weather is key to protecting your property and your people. 

But if you wait until the weather event is upon you to prepare your business, it may be too late to take proper measures that could protect your facility. 

Natural disasters and extreme weather events cause significant damage to commercial facilities every year, disrupting business operations and affecting the safety of employees and customers. It’s important to prepare your facility for these scenarios before they happen and have a plan in place to respond effectively. 

Here are some tips on how you can do that:

5 Steps to Prepare for Storms 

  1. Identify the potential risks for your facility based on its location, structure, and function.

    For example, if your facility is located in a coastal area, you need to know if/what flood zone you are in, as you may face the threat of hurricanes, storm surges, and flooding.

    Coastal areas that are prone to hurricanes, or those located in tornado alley, also need to consider their building’s tolerance for high wind speeds.

    If your facility is located in a wildfire-prone area, you may need to protect it from fire and smoke damage.

    You should use tools like FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center or NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center to assess the likelihood and severity of different hazards for your facility.
  2. Conduct a vulnerability assessment of your property to determine its strengths and weaknesses in terms of physical security, structural integrity, utility systems, emergency equipment, and communication networks.

    You can use tools like FEMA’s Building Science Toolkit or Ready.gov’s Business Continuity Plan to help you evaluate your facility’s preparedness level and identify areas for improvement.
  3. Develop an emergency response plan that outlines the roles and responsibilities of your staff, the procedures for evacuating or sheltering in place, the protocols for communicating with internal and external stakeholders, and the resources for restoring normal operations.

    You can use tools like OSHA’s Emergency Action Plan or Ready.gov’s Emergency Response Plan to help you create a comprehensive and customized plan for your facility that will both help ensure your property is prepared and your employees/tenants are safe.

    Once your plan is developed, ensure that you have a place where you store resources (batteries, tarps, boards for windows, etc.) specifically for these events. Check the supplies annually to ensure everything is in working order and in sufficient supply.
  4. Train your staff on how to implement the emergency response plan and how to perform basic first aid and CPR. Make sure everyone knows where the emergency supplies are kept and how they are to be used.

    As far as you are able, consider a rehearsal or practice of the emergency response plan once a year so everyone remembers their roles and how to perform them.
  5. Update your insurance coverage to ensure that it covers the potential losses and damages caused by natural disasters and extreme weather events.

    You can use tools like FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program or SBA’s Disaster Loan Assistance to find out more about the available options and requirements for your facility.

By following these steps, you can prepare your commercial facility for natural disasters and extreme weather events and minimize the impact on your business. Remember to review and update your plan regularly and stay informed of the latest weather forecasts and warnings. 

When Nature Strikes

For many who live in hurricane and severe storm-ridden areas, the question is not “if” but “when” a natural disaster strikes and damage occurs. 

If and when you do face natural disaster clean up, make sure you have a solid storm and flood restoration company, like AHI Facility Services, Inc. in Texas, lined up. They can help ensure your property is back in safe and working condition quickly.

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