- Secure your building, equipment and inventory. Keep an extra stock of vital supplies and backup files of records at an off-site location.
- Review your insurance coverage. Inventory, document and photograph equipment and offices. Have copies of policies and contact numbers.
- Plan to work with limited cash, no power and water for two weeks after the storm. Consider a backup generator. Store emergency supplies at the office.
- Develop a contingency plan to operate from another site if your office is unusable. This backup site should be at least 50 miles from main headquarters and should have phones and computer access.
- Make a list of key phone numbers, computer passwords and other critical information. Establish a system for contacting employees after the storm.
- Contact customers and suppliers in advance of storm and share your recovery plans. Keep a list of backup vendors in case yours are disabled in the storms.
- Compile records in case you need to apply for emergency funding (expenses, sales, payroll and tax returns).
Business tips from AT&T
Here are AT&T’s recommendations for small business owners for before the storm:
- Set up a call-forwarding service to a predetermined backup location. Set up single or multiple hot line numbers for employees, employees' families, customers and partners, as appropriate, to call so that all parties know about the business situation and emergency plan. For this to be most effective, maintain an updated contact list, including mobile and home phone numbers and e-mail addresses, for all employees.
- Protect hardware/software/data records/employee records, etc. Routinely back up these files to an off-site location. Use a generator for supplying backup power to vital computer hardware and other mission-critical equipment. Prearrange the replacement of damaged hardware with vendors to ensure quick business recovery.
- Outline detailed plans for evacuation and shelter-in-place plans. Practice these plans (employee training, etc.). Establish a backup location for your business and meeting place for all employees.
- Assemble a crisis-management team and coordinate efforts with neighboring businesses and building management. Be aware that disasters affecting your suppliers also affect your business. Outline a plan for supply chain continuity for business essentials.