Is your South Fleming Island/ North Bradford County Commercial Business Hurricane Ready?
In less than a few months, Floridians will kick off the official hurricane season, which, according to the National Weather Service, starts June 1 ends on November 30.
According to a report released by AccuWeather, those in the Sunshine State who are still recovering from punishing hurricanes, such as Ian and Nicole, say the state will once again be at a higher risk than other parts of the country. And, as many of us have seen, hurricanes are not particular about what type of properties it effects. Many commercial property owners and building managers fall victim to catastrophic damage.
As a building owner or manager in a coastal state, especially small businesses, losing your storefront and merchandise can cost more than just money. It can cost your very own livelihood. Sometimes, this damage is unavoidable. But oftentimes, it is a matter of careful planning and preparedness before the storms that can be a matter of your overall business’s survival. Here are a few key steps to take to remain vigilant about hurricane preparedness.
This might seem cut and dry, but it is crucial for those who operate along the coastline to know their risk. And this doesn’t exclude those who are further inland. Ask your local emergency management office about the history of hurricanes in and around your facility. Contact your local SERVPRO franchise to schedule a full-walk through, including an emergency readiness plan created by our field experts, specifically tailored to your commercial business. Consider investing in flood insurance if you have not already. This will greatly speed your recovery if a hurricane does cause flooding. To learn more about flood insurance, contact your insurance company, or visit floodsmart.gov.
Prepare your site by having a local roofer or facilities crew member remain diligent about keeping your roof free and clear of debris. This also includes trimming any overhanging tree branches, as well as removing any loose objects. Get a pre-storm inspection from your local SERVPRO professional. Our full-service mitigation services also include maintenance performance such as sealing, clearing out drains, and more. Verify electrical wires are adequately anchored to the roof, and check that hatches and doors on HVAC units, electrical boxes, and other fixtures are closed and locked.
Along with your local SERVPRO franchise, make sure to have a good list of preferred vendors that operate inside and outside your business. These third parties, which are also listed in every specific ERP created by your SERVPRO professional, are vital, especially during state-wide emergencies.
Do you have the contact information for your power company handy? What about your internet provider? This includes, along with the phone number, a direct link to the company website, which often will post regular updates to outages. Having your insurance agent or broker’s contact is critical. Make sure to touch base to ensure you are fully ready and covered by storm protection. Have the local number for your emergency responders and local law enforcement. Be aware of your location within the municipality to ensure you get the most accurate and quickest response.
Property damage not only leaves you exposed to the elements, but also makes your business vulnerable to other forms of serious loss.
Make sure to back up all of your data. Ask yourself: is my data backed up off-site? How often? How are my proprietary company secrets protected? Check with your insurance provider about your coverage prior to any storm. Do you have a phone chain for contacting employees regarding closings? Have you correctly identified essential workers? Does everyone know where to go in an emergency, whether to evacuate or shelter in place?
Consider implementing a contingency operations plan for after the hurricane strikes. Practice your plan with employees and stakeholders every few months. This will also help you to anticipate any changing variables and challenges.
Along with a hurricane preparedness kit, commercial businesses should also set aside a reserve ready in case the storm makes landfall. This should not only be enough to cover not just the initial cost of supplies, but also any extra materials needed for the days after the storm. And, just setting aside extra disaster response supplies that are more inclined to run out, such as batteries and non-perishables, give you a leg-up when it comes to competing businesses that might not have done the same.
Even if your property is only predicted to succumb to the high wind elements of a tropical storm doesn’t mean that you should skimp on stashing extra supplies. Always have a storage supply of material to protect the exterior of your building. This includes any materials recommended for boarding up the doors and windows of your business. Whether you are on a floodplain or not, make sure you have enough sandbags to keep the heavy rain outside of your property. Stash a few tarps and long, strong nails in case the strong wind tears a hole through your roof. Even a tiny leak, especially in a catastrophic storm, can have a devastating impact.
Better yet? Call your New Smyrna Beach/Titusville SERVPRO franchise today to schedule a walk-through from one of our own field experts who can identify even the smallest of issues that could have a major structural impact when mixed with the elements of a catastrophic storm.
Our storm disaster recovery team make it so we can help all of those in need that had water damage and other storm damage losses. Call your local SERVPRO franchise today for a free estimate at (904)769-5385! Our calls are never outsourced so you will always speak to someone on our team! We are here to help and can return your property back to like it never even happened.