In light of what may be in store for our area next week with a tropical storm or potential hurricane threatening, this is the time to prepare your business.
Here are a few key things you can do right now:
- Update employee contact information. Make sure that includes emergency contacts and alternate means of communication, such as What’s App for example.
- Identify any special skills, certifications, etc. that your team members possess that might come in handy in an emergency (i.e. first aid, CPR, or military training).
- Ask your team about their plans relative to evacuating vs. shelter-in-place. Also have them identify any childcare needs or if they have other concerns such as pets or elderly relatives.
Disaster planning is also about having a plan for suppliers and contractors. Maintain current vendor information, contracts and account numbers. Ask your vendors about their continuity plan and if they don’t have one, how will that affect you? Maintain a list of alternate suppliers just in case, perhaps considering geographic diversity. Place periodic orders with your alternate suppliers to maintain active status, he says.
Lastly, your plan needs to include ways you will keep communications open with your customers. Keep a copy of customer records off site or in the cloud and have an alternative worksite from which to communicate with customers during recovery.
this Florida SBDC at FIU webinar provides a good refresher on disaster preparedness. Watch it now:
In addition to the webinar, FIU’s Bizaster app is a free tool specifically created for small businesses. It is available in English and Spanish for both Android and iOS. Find out more information about it here.
With the Bizaster app, you can do a risk assessment from the convenience of your mobile device or tablet. You can access checklists, table top exercises and a template for a business continuity plan, Van Hook said.
Miami-Dade and Monroe also offer these resources:
The Ready Miami-Dade (Ready MDC on Apple and Android) mobile application allows Miami-Dade residents and visitors to get up-to-the minute information before, during and after a hurricane strike, including: 1) How to prepare for a hurricane; 2) Areas that are in danger of storm surge; and 3) Evacuation center locations.
Alert!Monroe, an Emergency Notification System from Monroe County, provide you with critical information quickly in a variety of situations, such as severe weather, emergency road closures, boil water notices, water service interruption, missing persons and evacuations of neighborhoods.
Also, here are some GrowBiz articles with helpful tips and resources:
- Time is on your side if you have a disaster plan in place – and follow it
- Is your business prepared for hurricane season? Here are some resouces
- Is your business continuity plan up to date? Here are some tips
Don’t wait to make your plan. And you’re not alone, Florida SBDC at FIU is here for you.