On August 29 and 30, 2015, a very rare weather event occurred. That evening three Category 4 hurricanes were making their way across the Atlantic Ocean. Hurricane Erika just kissed the East Coast and thankfully only gave us a rainy week. Hurricane season is a reminder that it’s time to get ready and get your Hurricane Disaster Plan in place!
Below you’ll find a helpful list of what do do before the big storm hits.
- Photograph everything in your office. Make sure to get the serial number for computers, monitors, anything electrical. You will need it if you have to make a claim. Take photos of furniture, etc. Anything that may have to be replaced, needs to be photographed.
- Protect windows and doors from wind borne-debris. If you have room to store it, it may be wise to go ahead and buy some before any storm approaches. Stores have been known to gouge during hurricane events.
- Remove any branches or trees adjacent to your building that could potentially fall and damage it.
- Sandbag any area that is subject to flooding.
- Anchor and brace any large furniture (bookcases, shelves, filing cabinets) to wall studs. This is a great safety idea in general, to prevent workman compensation issues in future!
- Secure all utilities including water heaters, gas tanks, and heaters and if necessary, raise them to higher locations to avoid water damages.
- Secure electronics such as computers and other office equipment with straps or Velcro. If you plan on riding out the storm other than in the office, cover electronics in plastic – ONLY if they are going to be turned off!
- Turn off all the utilities prior to a hurricane making landfall if possible.
- Back-up documents that are not easily produced such as insurance documents, legal contracts, tax returns, and accounting statements to avoid water damage. Seal these documents in waterproof containers.
- Back-up, Back-up, Backup! If you have cloud storage, back up to the cloud. If you don’t, back up to thumb drives, dvds and/or spare hard drives and make sure they are good! Make multiples and keep one on site and keep one off site in case of disaster. If you don’t know how to back up your files. Now is the time to learn or find someone who does. Businesses that lose their customer data are destined to go out of business. BACK UP YOUR DATA NOW!
Emergency Disaster Plan Checklist
- Battery operated radio or television
- Non-perishable three day food supply for you and your employees
- Three day supply of water for you and your employees (One gallon of water per person, per day)
- First Aid Kit and first aid manual
- Flashlights, batteries, light-sticks
- Tool kit (basic tools, gloves, etc.)
- Tarps, plastic bags, duct tape
- Cleaning supplies, including mops, towels and garbage cans
- Make sure fire extinguishers are charged and in working order
- Electric generator (if possible)
- Gas for vehicles, generators and other equipment
- Emergency contact information such as the nearest hospital and police, along with your insurance agent’s contact information.
- Call Answer Center to divert your phone calls! If you know you are going to ride out the storm other than your office, but you also know your clients might need to reach you, let Answer Center handle your calls. We have an emergency generator and we will be here unless the Governor of Virginia says we must evacuate (which hasn’t happened in our 35 years). Call 757-498-1177 and we can inform you on how we can be a part of your emergency disaster plan.