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5 Ways To Prepare Your Business For A Natural Disaster
by AJ O’Brien Thu, 01/26/2017 - 11:46
Although there are plenty of states that find themselves disaster-free, the states that do not know the fear involved in the hurricane season, massive floods, and tornado warnings alike. These are not the light drizzles or gusts of wind that other major cities warn about; these are the kinds of natural disasters that lead to the loss of countless lives, the destruction of millions of homes yearly, and furthermore, the annihilation of entire business fronts in the blink of an eye.
In 2016, natural disasters struck countless small business owners in multiple major states including Texas, Louisiana, and Missouri. In fact, in spring of last year, I found myself panicking at my company’s offices as the hallways and cubicles became flooded with water in the center of Houston, Texas. We were told to call loved ones, sit on desks, and wait for busses that could trudge through the waist-deep water to get us home to our families.
However, despite all of us surviving what would soon be called a record-breaking flood leading to a state of disaster, the irreparable damage those offices had faced led to thousands of dollars in renovation and restoration straight out of my boss’ pocket. Of course, despite the fear and chaos attributed to these disasters, there are still plenty of wonderful ways to plan and prepare for such disasters before they occur. With these simple ways to plan for the worst, you can find yourself staring any tornado straight in the eye and keeping your business afloat even in the worst of floods.
1. Create A Survival Kit
Creating a survival kit is a wonderful way to ensure the safety of you and your employees during a serious disaster. When the chaos of a natural disaster strikes, it may be difficult and take a long time for anyone to find and help you and your employees. That’s why gathering food, first aid supplies, plenty of water, flashlights, a quality hand crank radio, and an emergency phone can help you to prepare for the worst and, by getting your employees involved in the project, you can ensure that you have enough food and water for even the longest of rescue missions.
However, learning more about each item you put into your kit can help you to ensure you are never unprepared for your circumstances. Knowing the kind of first-aid products to include and what the major injuries during natural disasters are can ensure you are prepared for any occasion and ready to help no matter what injury you face. For instance, if you are facing a tornado, a very common injury that can occur are concussions due to the overwhelming amount of dangerous flying debris. Knowing the common concussion warning signs and how to treat a concussion can significantly increase your chances of staying healthy and surviving these often terrifying events.
2. Get A Quality Insurance Plan
If you live in the south, you probably already know all too well about this one, however, picking the right insurance plan can help you save money yet still stay safe during these disastrous times. As I have said before, in the blink of an eye, a business can completely be lost to a hurricane, tornado, or even a flood, so getting a quality insurance plan for flooding, tornadoes, and hurricanes can help you get through the season without the fear of losing everything in the process.
On top of this reading up on each natural disaster can help you to decide what you want to include in your insurance and what you would rather not include. For instance, knowing helpful info about tornadoes can allow you to decide whether your state is at risk of this disaster and how to prevent it from being the end of your thriving small business.
Similarly, by outsourcing your accounting and bookkeeping, you can ensure that not only are you and your building safe, but your business’ records are as well. This can be an effective way to create a metaphorical ‘disaster insurance’ for your company’s growth likewise and ensure that, despite your offices potentially being in shambles, your future doesn’t have to be.
3. Build A Safe Room
Although safe rooms are typically for homes more than businesses, if you have any underground spot anywhere within your offices, turning this spot into a safe room where you can store your survival kit, blankets, and other essentials can be a great way to protect you and your employees from strong winds that may blow your entire business away. If you fear that your structure might not be strong enough to sustain a tornado or hurricane yet you have an underground shelter, you can keep calm even during the worst of events and protect your employees from the chaos above.
However, when dealing with a flood, knowing the kind of water pumps you have in your offices can help you prevent dealing with underground flooding and similarly, choosing a quality water pump can decrease the risk of a pump malfunctioning and turning your safe room into an aquarium.
4. Purchase Quality Storm Shutters
During my stay in Texas, I remember hearing the term ‘storm shutters’ passed along frequently, but I was completely unaware of what these things really were until the first warnings of the upcoming hurricane season began. Surprisingly, storm shutters can be a pretty cost-effective way to protect your offices from the elements, however, picking a quality brand is truly the only way to ensure that you get the most out of these useful shutters during the hurricane, tornado, or flood season.
5. Get An Evacuation Vehicle
Getting an evacuation vehicle can be a super effective way to protect your employees and yourself from the worst of natural disasters and the unfortunate latency of rescue operations. By looking in your area for big vehicles like busses or vans, you can begin saving up towards the goal of getting one of these vehicles as a company to ensure you are never stuck on a desk waiting for a bus to come pick you up in the center of a flood. This may be one of the more costly ventures, but having a vehicle that can stand the beginning of a serious disaster can allow you to reach safe zones and remove your employees and yourself from your offices when there is no hope of them surviving the natural disaster.
Despite the chaos that comes with living in a state that is prone to natural disaster, we all know why the south is an awesome place to run a small business. The people are what make places like Texas and Louisiana worthwhile and, with a little bit of forward thinking, you can begin to focus more on your customers and less on the place they call home. At the end of the day, owning a small business is all about being ready for everything and anything, so why not add a few rafts and some emergency rations to the mix?
About the author
AJ O'Brien runs her own business as a personal chef and enjoys blogging about her passions and experiences.