Hurricane preparedness tips for businesses
The Florida Small Business Development Council (FSBDC) exists to provide assistance with marketing and business plans for small businesses. Here are some hurricane preparedness tips for businesses:
Develop a Comprehensive Plan. An effective hurricane survival plan should be written down and reviewed annually. This plan should address policies and procedures for employee safety regarding hurricanes, business continuity and contingency plans in the face of damage to the business’s facilities and policies for dealing with employees, customers and vendors. Some of the key elements of an effective plan are:
-Conditions that will activate the plan
-Chain of command
-Emergency functions and who will perform them
-Specific evacuation procedures, including routes and exits
-Procedures for accounting for personnel, customers and visitors
-Equipment for personnel
Determine procedures and individual crisis management responsibilities. Identify which personnel are required to be on-site in the days surrounding a hurricane, as well as who is essential to business function, whether required on-site or not. Be sure to communicate areas of accountability and responsibility for key personnel and how to perform their emergency-response duties effectively.
Coordinate with others. Understand the hurricane response plans of other businesses in your area as well as police, fire department, hospitals, and utility companies. It is also helpful to communicate with suppliers, shippers, and others with whom you regularly do business.
Prepare employees. Communicate your hurricane plan with all your staff; obtain all emergency contact numbers for employees and ensure understanding of roles, responsibilities and expectations for every employee.
Review emergency plans annually. Assess changes in your business or to the community that may affect your hurricane response plan and make the necessary changes each year.
Marge Cirillo is the Florida Small Business Development Council consultant for St. Johns County. She can be reached at email@example.com or (904) 209-1295.