Is your business hurricane-proof?

The 2015 Atlantic hurricane season is quickly approaching, with the first named storm of the year having formed long before the calendar reaches June 1.  

Especially in Florida, we're accustomed to preparing our homes and families for severe weather. But have you thought lately about preparing your business?

  • In 2013, deadly weather caused more than $8 billion in property damage.
  • According to the Insurance Information Institute, an estimated 25 percent of all businesses affected  by a major disaster never reopen.
  • Failure to prepare for extreme weather events has cost the United States $1.15 trillion in economic losses from 1980 to 2010 and could cost another trillion dollars in coming years.

Respect what hurricanes can do and know what your insurance covers.

Your insurance policy covers repair or rebuilding costs of covered losses.  It's important to review your policy for detailed coverage explanations once a year.  Make sure you have enough coverage to rebuild based on current construction costs.  

We recommend you get a precise estimate and make sure you talk to your agent about your commercial building's unique features.

Reduce potential damage before a hurricane hits.

  • Install storm shutters (here's a printable instruction sheet)
  • Remove yard debris, like dead tree limbs, that could become flying objects
  • Have a safe place to park commercial vehicles
  • Make sure you or employees know how to shut off utilities
  • Back-up computer records and store them at least 50 miles off-site
  • Gather important papers, including inventory lists and insurance information, to take with you if you must evacuate

Include your staff in emergency preparedness.

Click here to download FEMA's Playbook for Preparing Your Organization for a Hurricane.  RTI recommends you print this playbook and keep it with other important human resources or building maintenance documents.  This is a great tool for educating employees about hurricane safety in the workplace and at home, too.  

Simple steps that businesses take now can make a real difference in the event a disaster strikes.  Some examples:

  • Sign up for local text message alerts and warnings
  • Encourage employees to download mobile emergency preparedness apps from the FEMA, the American Red Cross, or a local news station.
  • Build an emergency supply kit to keep at work
  • Practice going to a protective location (safe room) in the event of a sudden emergency
  • Gather critical personnel, legal, and medical documents for safekeeping.
  • Conduct a walk-through of your facility to identify ways to mitigate hazard-prone areas.
  • Create a workplace emergency communications plan, such as a call-down roster.
  • Conduct a tabletop exercise to test your business' Continuity of Operations Plan. 

RTI is committed to the wellness of our economy and community.  Together, we can help the Gulf Coast stay safe and prepared this hurricane season. 

Information provided by FEMA and Safeco Insurance.