Source: Insurance Information Institute
When it’s hurricane season
Hurricane season starts June 1 and runs through November 30. But don’t wait until a warning—take steps to prepare in advance for a potential hurricane—it’s the best way to protect your family, your home and your business.
For more preparedness tips, handy checklists (including ones you can personalize yourself) and evacuation planning advice to cover a variety of disasters, get the I.I.I.’s Know Your Plan app. It’s a great tool to help get you and your family—including pets—organized and ready to act more quickly if a hurricane or other emergency strikes.
When a hurricane watch is issued
A hurricane watch is issued when there is a threat of a hurricane within a 24-36 hour period. At that time, you should:
Purchase any emergency supplies that you don’t already have on hand. Hit the stores early, as items such as batteries, candles and flashlights will get snapped up quickly.
Prepare your yard by removing all outdoor furniture, lawn items, planters and other materials that could be picked up by high winds. If you haven’t already, remove weak branches on plants and trees. Lower antennas and retractable awnings.
Prepare for a potential evacuation by reviewing your evacuation plan and, if you have a pet, your pet’s evacuation plan.
Fully charge your cellphone.
Fill your car’s gasoline tank.
Jot down the name and phone number of your insurer and insurance professional and keep this information handy in your wallet or purse.
Households—especially in areas prone to hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes—often prepare for disasters by storing extra supplies, having an evacuation plan, and learning about emergency resources. Businesses similarly want to prepare, with a focus on restoring your operations as soon as possible and minimizing your losses. To prepare adequately for a disaster, take the following steps:
Develop a formal written plan—sometimes called a “Disaster Recovery Plan” or “Business Continuity Plan,” this document should detail how your business will respond to and recover from a disaster, including temporarily relocating your business. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has developed a National Preparedness Standard for developing a plan. Some businesses also develop specific plans to protect and recover their information technology (IT) infrastructure. In today’s era of cloud computing, it is increasingly easier to back up data offsite.
Train employees—Share your Disaster Recovery Plan with employees, assign responsibilities, and offer training so that your workforce can help your business recover. You may also want to conduct drills to assess and improve response.
Store emergency supplies—Keep flashlights, a first-aid kit and a battery-powered radio on hand at your business. Depending on its location, you may even want to store food, water and blankets. As feasible and needed, consider stocking equipment that can help your business return to operations, such as a generator.
Maintain key information offsite—to get your business up and operating again after a disaster, you’ll need to be able to access critical business information. In addition to backing up computer data, keep an offsite list of your insurance policies, banking information and the phone numbers of employees, key customers, vendors and suppliers, your insurance professional and others. You’ll also want to maintain an inventory of your business equipment, supplies and merchandise; you may want to photograph items as well.
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