How Businesses Should Prepare for Hurricane Isaac
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The Gulf Coast is fixed on
Tropical Storm Hurricane Isaac as it crawls across the Gulf of Mexico. The chances are good that it'll become a hurricane. If it does or doesn't, the powerful winds and heavy rains will do damage. Businesses in the path of Isaac need to prepare.
Last year, after an earthquake and Hurricane Irene struck the East Coast, Gerald McSwiggan at the U.S. Chamber's Business Civic Leadership Center (BCLC) offered advice to businesses for dealing with natural disasters:
Build a team to create a plan. No one person knows everything about your business, so include people who will ensure that your disaster plan is complete.
Keep your plan simple and inexpensive. It should be easy for employees to follow and not costly to maintain or update.
Update your emergency employee, vendors/suppliers, and key contacts lists for communication during and after an emergency. If one of your vendors is impacted by a disaster, have an alternate vendor lined up.
Identify hazards and critical operations. Determine the risks to your most essential business operations and take steps to protect against them. Prioritize which pieces of your business must be brought back after an interruption.
Protect your data. Back up data regularly and store it off-site. A simple CD/DVD could be key to your business’ successful recovery.
Stock up on essential emergency supplies. You should have an adequate supply of batteries, office supplies, etc.
Collect critical information to store with your plan. Be able to quickly access legal papers, insurance, agreements, leases, floor plans, and other documents.
Exercise your plan at least annually and make adjustments as needed. After a disaster, document the damage with photos and/or videos; contact your insurance company; communicate with your employees, customers, vendors, suppliers, key contacts, and possibly the media; apply for assistance if needed; and update your disaster plan based on lessons learned.
Here are some tools to help:
- Office Depot’s Disaster Preparedness Strategy website.
- BCLC's National Disaster Help Desk for Businsses made possible by Office Depot Foundation. Call 1-888-MY BIZ HELP (888-692-4943) for advice about preparedness and post-recovery resources.
- Also from BCLC, a Disaster Toolbox with links to disaster recovery resources.