The Atlantic hurricane season starts on June 1, meaning security leaders need to prepare for potential severe weather. Organizations should have a disaster response and business continuity plan that is up to date and shared with key staff at least annually. As part of the plan, QBE suggests the following actions to help businesses prepare their employees and property prior to hurricane season:
People. Employee safety is the top concern. Businesses should have formalized procedures for communicating with and protecting all workers during both response and restoration periods. Stock up on and store essential items ahead of time such as PPE, disinfectants, water, food items, batteries, first aid kits and medications.
Property. Evaluate each piece of rooftop equipment to determine the current condition and adequacy of rooftop securement. Make sure employees know how to turn off water, gas and other utilities when necessary, and conduct proper facilities training so multiple people can be called on in a crisis, if needed, especially those located near the business. Use a storage facility for equipment and materials to help with emergency repairs such as chainsaws, pumps, fuel for generators and plywood. Check that insurance coverage amounts reflect current costs for rebuilding and replacing property. High inflation and ongoing labor shortages in construction have caused rebuilding costs to rise as much as 8% in the last 12 months.
Records. Gather contact information for external parties that are crucial to business operations, such as bankers, lawyers, accountants and suppliers. Ensure contracts with customers and suppliers are up to date and include appropriate provisions for risk transfer and proof of insurance. Save this information in an alternate and accessible off-site location.
Inventory. Have an up-to-date inventory of what is in offices and facilities, including products and assets, as well as current financials. Keep in mind physical records can easily get destroyed so have a backup elsewhere.
Power. Have a plan in place if there is a loss in power. Make sure generators are on hand and employees know how to use them safely. Companies should be prepared for longer-than-usual power outages.