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Business Disaster Toolkit » Keeping Safe During a Disaster

BUSINESS PREPAREDNESS WHEN A DISASTER IS IMMINENT

  • Review Business Continuity Plan to ensure your communication plan is up to date and employees are aware of their responsibilities after the storm.
  • Back up all computer data and ensure the backup is stored in safe place offsite.
  • Monitor local emergency management, NOAA Weather Radio, and local stations for weather updates.
  • Encourage employees to update their Family Emergency Plan and Disaster Supply Kit to be self-sufficient for up to 72 hours following impact.
  • Discuss the plan to return to work after impact including alternate business locations if needed.
  • Clear property and secure any items that could become flying debris in high winds.
  • If you do not have impact resistant windows, install shutters or plywood to cover glass windows or doors. Brace double-entry and garage doors at the top or bottom.
  • Fill fleet cars and equipment gas tanks and check oil, water and tires. Gas stations don’t operate without electricity.
  • Obtain sufficient cash for business operations. Banks and ATM machines will not operate without electricity and few stores will be able to accept credit cards and personal checks.
  • Close business operations in a time to allow employees to secure their homes, acquire needed supplies, and evacuate if necessary.
  • Review Business Disaster Supply Kit to ensure supplies such as drinking water, non- perishable foods, first aid kit, radio and flashlights with extra batteries, and other items needed for employees remaining in facility during the disaster.

WHEN AN EVACUATION ORDER IS ISSUED - SECURING YOUR BUSINESS

  • Follow instructions by local emergency management officials on evacuation orders including the timing and suggested evacuation routes.
  • Prior to evacuating, secure the physical structure of your business including boarding glass windows and/or doors, securing items that could become flying debris, remove equipment that could be damaged by wind and/or water, turn off electricity, water and gas.
  • Remove important documents, files, computer backup drives, emergency contact information for employees and customers, and other files needed to reestablish business functions.
  • Update employees and customers of business continuity plan, communication strategy, and re-entry plan when deemed safe and secure.
  • Secure business before evacuating.

IF YOU REMAIN IN YOUR BUSINESS DURING A DISASTER – STEPS TO TAKE TO SECURE YOUR BUSINESS

  • Remember, if your local emergency management officials order an evacuation and you make a decision to remain in your business, emergency responders will not be able to respond to you during the disaster. You, and your employees, will be on your own until the storm passes and first responders are able to secure the area.
  • If your business is located outside the evacuation zone and the facility is safe to remain during an emergency, you may be able to remain open for business. Your facility may be able to serve as a shelter for employees that have been ordered to evacuate.
  • Ensure windows and doors are protected and secured.
  • If you decide to provide shelter to your employees at your business, discuss the option with your attorney to discuss liability and other legal concerns.
  • If you decide to remain at the facility, make sure your Business Disaster Supply Kit has at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food for those employees and family members remaining, a manual can-opener, and at least three gallons of water, per day, per person.
  • During the storm, everyone should stay inside away from windows, skylights, and glass doors. Find a safe area in your facility (an interior, reinforced room, closet, bathroom on a lower floor) in the event the storm becomes severe.
  • Wait for official word that the storm is past and it is safe to exit the facility. Remember the eye of a hurricane can be calm with few storms. Once the eye has passed, severe weather could return.
  • If flooding threatens your business, electricity should be turned off at the main breaker.
  • If your facility loses power, turn off major appliances, such as the air conditioner and water heater, to reduce the damage.
  • If you must leave your business during a disaster, remember if you see flooded roadways, Turn Around, Don’t Drown. A small amount of moving water can sweep cars and people off the roads.

BUSINESS PREPAREDNESS FOR NO-NOTICE EVENT (TORNADO)

  • Gather employees and customers in a safe area in your facility (an interior, reinforced room, closet, bathroom on a lower floor) until the immediate threat passes. Move away from windows, skylights, and glass doors.
  • Do not use elevators because the power may fail, leaving people trapped.
  • Protect your head and make yourself as small a target as possible by crouching down.

Related Links

Make a Shelter in Place Plan
http://www.ready.gov/business/plan/shelterplan.html

Seven Steps to Employee Preparedness
http://www.disaster-resource.com/articles/05p_080.shtml