National Hurricane Preparedness Week kicks off on May 9th and runs until May 15th this year. Both individuals and businesses need to be prepared in the event of a hurricane or other natural disaster. You’ve updated your policies for COVID-19, but are they still viable if a hurricane struck your business or employees’ homes?
What is National Hurricane Preparedness Week?
National Hurricane Preparedness Week was started in 2004 in an effort to raise awareness of the importance of being prepared in the event of or threat of a hurricane. Each day of the week features a different lesson. They include:
May 9th: Determine Your Risk
If you operate your business on a coast or close to one, you could be at risk of a hurricane. Risks your business needs to be aware of range from inland flooding to storm surges, as well as strong winds that are capable of producing tornadoes.
May 10th: Develop an Evacuation Plan
May 10th is dedicated to raising awareness of evacuation plans. Businesses should have hurricane response strategies that include getting employees to safety.
May 11th: Assemble Disaster Supplies
In the event your business needs can’t pause operations, even during a hurricane, you need to have disaster supplies on hand, including medicine, gas tanks for fleet vehicles, radios, batteries, food, water, and phone chargers.
May 12th: Get an Insurance Checkup
When was the last time you reviewed your business insurance and how it relates to hurricanes? Is it still current? Will it protect your data as well as your property?
May 13th: Strengthen Your Building
Your office should be protected in the event of a hurricane. This means boarding up windows and securing any outdoor items as part of hurricane preparation.
May 14th: Help Your Community
Companies can absolutely make the difference in how quickly recovery happens after a hurricane. You can help other businesses or neighbors that were impacted after the weather passes.
May 15th: Have it in Writing
Your business needs a hurricane plan in writing if the company or any employees are at risk. These documents should be easily accessible both in person and online.
Updating Your Procedures
Many businesses had to revisit their policies and procedures last year due to COVID-19. Changes included everything from how to handle remote work for employees to services and products offered. However, although you updated your procedures to account for the pandemic, did you have hurricanes in mind when you crafted them?
Your current policies need to account for all of your workers, whether they work on site, remotely, or a hybrid. Businesses have to consider how they will support remote workers and their company should an area lose power, be flooded, or otherwise affected by the natural disaster. Even if your business operates inland and is in no threat of a hurricane, if you have a single remote employee that works in an area at risk, you need a hurricane plan to account for them.
A few questions to ask yourself when updating your company’s policies include:
- How are your employees, data, or property at risk?
- How are you educating your team on natural disaster protocols and procedures?
- How will you keep operations running in the event of a hurricane?
- Are your insurance policies up to date? Do they also protect remote workers?
- Who will handle protecting the building if a hurricane is predicted for the area?
- The answer to this question could vary as workers return to the office, too, so keep that in mind.
- Do your employees have access to the supplies and protection they need? Is there anything you can do to assist them before the hurricane makes landfall?
- Do you have an evacuation plan for your employees? Do you have a plan for any employees that may be required to stay on site
- Do you have a strategy for backing up your data to a secure location that won’t be affected by the weather?
- Is there anything you can do to help your customers during this time?
- How often should you review your hurricane preparedness plan?
Resources for National Hurricane Preparedness Week
There are a number of resources you, your business, and your employees can take advantage of during National Hurricane Preparedness Week.
Ready.gov offers a Hurricane Toolkit explaining each day’s theme, hashtags to use on social media to educate your customers and employees, and how everyone, including businesses, can prepare in the event of dangerous weather.
Weather.com also has resources to help you prepare, including directions to public shelters, how prep has changed as a result of COVID-19, current forecasts, and instructions for each step of preparedness.
Our team can also assist you in crafting policies and procedures that best serve your business and employees, both in-house and remotely. Our Crisis Management and Business Continuity service ensures you have a plan in place in the event of a crisis, emergency, or pandemic, and that your company has a way to keep working even if any of these events drastically affects your operations.
National Hurricane Preparedness Week is the perfect opportunity to get your ducks in a row when it comes to business operations, business continuity, and crisis management. You can even review your current policies regarding all types of natural disasters during this time. It’s always important to ensure your policies, procedures, and protocols keep up with the changing times so your business and team members are safe in the event of a hurricane.