The 2017 hurricane season is well under way.
Early predictions for the season call for a calmer year compared to last year. However, it's important to keep in mind that storm season predictions are frequently proven wrong in potentially devastating ways. In fact, in years with below average storm forecasts, it's common for more damage to occur to businesses and homes due to ill preparation.
Don't leave yourself vulnerable. We can even use Florida's history with hurricanes as an example of what can happen, when you're unprepared.
25th Anniversary of Hurricane Andrew
On Aug. 24, 1992, Hurricane Andrew struck the Atlantic coast of Florida and destroyed 28,000 homes, according to the Sun Sentinel. Most Floridians were unprepared for the storm and those who weren't physically injured, were most certainly impacted financially.
The storm also played an immense role on the insurance industry. Darr Schackow Insurance opened its doors earlier in the year and nearly forced the agency to close. Those problems weren't limited to just DSI, many insurance agencies were forced to close, a lot of carriers left the state of Florida and premiums went up exponentially.
Plan ahead! Be prepared with a crisis communication plan
Electricity, land lines and cell phone coverage are typically among the first things people lose during a bad storm. Having a crisis communication plan in place will help keep coworkers and family members calm when the storm hits and modern communication methods are lost.
Assign specific communication-based roles and tasks to specific people on your team ahead of time and clearly indicate the method they should use to notify everyone. Have a meeting to discuss the plan and keep a hard copy in an area that is easily accessible.
Details of your crisis communication plan should include:
Exactly who will call or text team members if a hurricane on its way
A detailed instruction sheet that outlining how your team will communicate if landlines are down and cell reception is patchy following a hurricane
A complete list of phone numbers, personal emails and the physical addresses of all team members
Emergency contact information and the location of the nearest storm shelters in your area
Stock up on Supplies
Thanks to incredible advancements in weather prediction and tracking technology, a hurricane should no longer take anyone completely by surprise. Pay attention to information and updates being issued ahead of time. If you're a business owner, make sure to stock up on supplies just in case the office is the safest place to setup camp. Also, if a hurricane or tropical storm warning is issued in your county, please don't risk your employees safety by working in the office.
Hurricane Preparedness Kit:
Bottled drinking water to last for at least 72 hours (a gallon per day, per person is the recommended amount)
Canned and nonperishable food (Don’t forget the can opener!)
Fully-stocked first-aid kit
Batteries and several flashlights
Watch your back
The stress of the upcoming storm can lead to mistakes. Make sure you backup important computer files, with cloud based services such as Google Drive, there's no excuse for not backing up your files. Test your recovery process now and talk to your service provider to make sure your backup system is working correctly so your updates will perform as expected.
Ready your home and office to withstand the storm
Thoroughly cover computer terminals and office equipment with plastic, board up windows, and unplug all cables and wires connected to terminals. Think ahead about possible flooding in your building, surrounding buildings and your parking lot.
Speak with your Insurance Agent
Before a storm hits this season, make sure you understand your insurance policy. Having the appropriate coverage could mean the difference between minor inconvenience and major disaster.
For up-to-date hurricane information and updates, visit http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/
Is your business properly insured? Visit http://www.darrschackowinsurance.com/business/default.aspx for more information on commercial coverage from DSI.