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Prepare your Business for a Winter Storm

Release Date: 
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Advisory Date: 
Tuesday, December 16, 2014

When a winter storm hits, it can significantly interrupt if not suspend your business operations. Winter storms can bring freezing rain, ice, snow, high winds, or a combination of these conditions. They can cause power outages that last for days, make roads and walkways very dangerous, and affect community services. Preparing ahead of time can help you manage the impact a winter storm has on your business and the safety of your employees.

 

Knowing what to do when a winter storm and other disasters hit is the message of America’s PrepareAthon!, a nationwide grassroots campaign for action to increase community preparedness and resilience through hazard-specific drills, group discussions, and exercises. The campaign offers easy-to-implement preparedness guides, checklists, and resources to help individuals, business owners, organizations and whole communities practice the simple, specific actions they can take to prepare for disasters.

 

According to the Insurance Information Institute, an estimated 25 percent of all businesses affected by a major disaster never reopen1. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to disasters. Unlike large companies, small businesses have less capital and fewer personnel available to resume operations and recover losses. It is vital to the continuity of a small business to have a disaster plan in place and be prepared, as it can make the difference between staying open or shutting down.

 

The most important asset to any business is its people. Businesses cannot recover from a disaster without their people, and people cannot recover without a job to return to. In order for employees to be able to focus on their work after a disaster, they need to be personally prepared for emergencies.

 

Encourage your employees to:

1. Sign up for local text alerts and warnings and download weather apps to their smartphone.

2. Gather important documents and keep them in a safe place.

3. Create an emergency supply kit.

4. Develop a family emergency communication plan.

5. Know the facts on how to prepare for a winter storm.

 

In addition to preparing your employees, it is crucial you know how to safeguard your facility and property. The Small Business Administration and Agility Recovery teamed up to develop “Prepare My Business”, www.preparemybusiness.org/, which offers planning tools to assist small business owners with preparing for various disasters. Some tips from the Winter Weather Preparedness Checklist include:

1. Check your insurance coverage for protection against winter hazards.

2. Collect the names and phone numbers of your heating contractor, plumber, fire department, insurance agent, and building owner and ensure they are easily accessible.

3. Determine what equipment needs to be protected from freeze-up, i.e. computers, telecommunications, manufacturing equipment, etc.

4. Have all employees, vendors, and client contact information on hand.

5. Arrange for snow removal from driveways, doorways, and roofs.

 

Small business owners have the dual responsibility of not only protecting their business, but also taking the steps to ensure their employees are prepared. Visit www.ready.gov/prepare to join America’s PrepareAthon! and learn more ways you can prepare your employees and business for a winter storm, as well as other disasters relevant to your community.

 

For additional information on America’s PrepareAthon! please contact Bob Keller: Robert.keller@associates.fema.dhs.gov