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Five things you must do before a hurricane to protect your business

Paul Kirvan lists five disaster-preparedness things you must do in the days leading up to a hurricane to protect your business.

A hurricane is very different from other types of disasters because you can literally watch it approaching on television news or online. If you have minimal (or no) DR precautions in place, what are the five most important things to do to protect your business in the three days leading up to a hurricane's landfall?

Despite ongoing analyses and forecasts from weather services about a progressing hurricane, it's better to err on the side of being prepared than to try and ride out the storm without any precautions. Here are five activities that are important to perform in advance of the storm if you want to protect your business:

  1. Contact all your emergency teams and be sure they are prepared for the storm; identify evacuation routes; identify shelter-in-place locations; and compile contact details for your local, county and state emergency management offices.
  2. Check with your facilities department or building management company to determine which preparations are needed to secure and protect your buildings, offices, operations centers, manufacturing plants and other facilities; determine if the building is at any risk from high winds and rain.
  3. Test your emergency power systems to ensure they are operational; check fuel levels in diesel or natural gas generators to ensure they have sufficient fuel for several days of operation.
  4. Ensure you have sufficient supplies to operate the business in case it's difficult to travel in the aftermath of the storm, e.g., because of flooding or roads being impassable.
  5. Make sure your employees are prepared for the storm. This might include checking that they have emergency power supplies, food and water, medical supplies, flashlights, battery-powered radios, knowledge of evacuation routes, etc. Backing up important data should be an ongoing practice, but if you haven't been diligent about that, be absolutely sure to create an off-site copy of important data so employees can return to productivity quickly if on-premises computer systems are damaged in the storm.
This was first published in June 2014

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