Understanding small business storm preparedness is essential for companies that operate in severe winter weather. It usually takes much more preparation for a business than for a homeowner to minimize the effects of a storm. Here are important steps for your business to avoid getting trapped in a winter disaster.
Here are some of the best tips to keep your business out of the storm’s way:
An important move towards small business storm preparedness is to take inventory of all your valuable assets. Then go over the list with your insurance agent to ensure each item gets financial protection and appropriate coverage. Never assume that a standard business insurance policy covers all your possessions.
The concept of winterizing a building involves cleaning, covering, replacing, and removing items. You'll need to conduct a thorough inspection of your business property that includes doors, windows, roof, and gutters. Air-tight weather stripping around all doors and windows is crucial for adequate winterization. In some cases, you may want to add a draft blocker for entry doors.
Your HVAC system and other appliances should be checked by professionals in those respective industries when repairs are needed. Otherwise, your team can handle the basics that go along with heating and cooling, which include cleaning and replacing filters periodically. If clean air doesn't flow through your ventilation systems, it can cause illness.
To avoid freezing, drain your hoses and keep outside water valves shut off. Hoses should be stored in a dry place. Any movable outdoor furniture should be covered or brought inside.
It's wise to plan and carry out emergency drills to prepare for a power outage or flooding. You must establish a step-by-step disaster plan and share it with your team. Each individual should understand their role and the actions they will take in an emergency. You can learn more from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which has developed drills and exercises for small businesses to practice in preparation for bad weather.
A severe storm can cause power outages that shut down stores, which cuts off supplies. That's why it's a good idea to have your stored supplies, such as water and food, in case of a disaster. Your disaster plan should identify where you store First Aid equipment and other necessary supplies.
One way to prepare for a power outage is to invest in a portable generator. Gas-powered models require keeping the exhaust outdoors, whereas solar-powered models are cleaner for the environment. You may also want to invest in a certain amount of battery power. Items to consider for your emergency kits include medical gear, flashlights, paper towels, shovels, and rock salt.
Storms can cause problems that last for days, weeks, or even months. Most small businesses rely on a steady income to stay afloat, so it's critical to plan for worst-case scenarios. The most resilient businesses create backup plans built on "if, then" principles. An example of preparing for the worst while maintaining business continuity is predetermining a relocation process.
Monitoring weather forecasts during the winter should be a periodic activity. You can stay updated on the latest weather conditions through the National Weather Service, which provides interactive weather maps for all regions of the United States. The service issues warnings for severe storms.
The best way to maintain your business in the winter is to prepare for a powerful storm. Having all the right elements including insurance in place can save you from financial turmoil. Contact us today at Reata Insurance to learn more about small business storm preparedness.