While Hurricane Matthew may still be fresh in the minds of many local small business owners, forecasters warn this year’s hurricane season may be worse than normal.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association predicts five to nine hurricanes, two to four of which could be Category 3 or higher. Hurricane season lasts from June 1 through Nov. 30.
Small business are particularly vulnerable to the high costs of weather damages. Almost 40 percent never reopen after a disaster, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Ed Bides, information security officer and disaster recovery team member at Florida Capital Bank, offers four practical ways to ensure your business is prepared for Mother Nature.
1. Know What You Have
Catalog computers, equipment and other property as well as files and important documents. Keep a digital copy of this list, photograph important equipment and back up your documents using a cloud service.
2. Check Your Insurance Policies
Do you need business interruption coverage? Will your insurance pay what your old equipment is worth now or what it will cost you to buy new equipment? Carefully consider what your policies will do for you, and make sure you have all the coverage you need.
3. Plan Ahead
Develop a plan for how to prepare your business and personnel for severe weather. Remember that your employees will need time to prepare their homes and pick up children from school in the case of an evacuation. “There’s always room to improve,” said Bides, noting that Florida Capital Bank modifies its plan every year. Communicate your plan, so everyone is on the same page when you need them to be.
4. Know Your Disaster Recovery Options
Check the Small Business Administration website after a disaster to see if your business is in a disaster relief zone and eligible for funds.