Safety and survival are always your number one priority when facing a hurricane, but if time and conditions allow, you want to prepare your business to weather the storm, too. Check out these tips from the restoration professionals at ServiceMaster Restore to secure your business and minimize the damages from Hurricane Irma and future natural disasters.
1. Communicate with Employees
If you have a business emergency plan already in place, review it immediately with your employees to ensure the safety of both your property and people. Go over or create a plan to communicate with staff and keep the lines of communication open before, during and after the storm, even if cell towers or phone lines become unavailable.
If the hurricane is far enough from land and there's enough time, you can discuss each person's role in preparing the business and property to survive hurricane damage. Always remember, however, that keeping people safe is the most important priority in any emergency situation.
2. Protect Your Property and Possessions
If it's safe to remain in your area, you can take several actions to increase your preparedness and minimize property damage:
- Stock up on emergency supplies. See our general hurricane survival supply list and tweak it to meet your business needs.
- Secure windows and doors. Board up openings with plywood to help keep wind, water and debris out.
- Lay sand bags around the building's perimeter to help block or slow water penetration.
- Bolt large furniture pieces and storage shelves to wall studs.
- Unplug all electronic devices and shut off all utilities.
- Move expensive equipment to high ground, if possible. If floodwaters do make it inside, your possessions have a better chance of surviving on higher floors or shelves.
- Keep records of your business's possessions and take pre-hurricane pictures of the property for insurance purposes.
- Back up electronic documents and data to offsite storage, like electronic cloud storage or similar service, such as Google Docs.
- Stash important paper documents in waterproof containers and store them as high as possible, or move them offsite if time allows.
3. Monitor Storm Updates
Listen to local, state and national radio stations for the most recent hurricane updates. Prepare an exit strategy in case evacuation is necessary. Don't postpone leaving to tend to your property. Keep in contact with your employees to make sure you're all updated on road closures and the latest storm information. You want make sure your family, friends and employees all make it out of the danger zone safely so you can all return to rebuild after the storm.
Once the storm passes and it's safe to return to your property, assess damages and take the first steps toward recovery. Call your insurance providers if you need to file a claim, and then contact experienced water damage restoration experts to help you rebuild your business. Our local teams are prepared to stand by your side 24/7/365 – because at the end of the day, we're all just neighbors helping neighbors.