Hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, wildfires, flooding, wind storms, and overall severe weather has affected millions of people and all kinds of businesses throughout the U.S. economically and logistically in the past decade. According to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, 2017 was the costliest year on record for weather-related disasters, which included 16 different billion-dollar disaster events that resulted in over $300 billion in losses. So far for 2019, as of April 9, we’ve already experienced 2 events exceeding $1 billion in costs in the U.S.
Extreme weather events are unfortunately becoming the norm, and it is important to know what to do ahead of time to have your business well prepared for when disaster strikes. Extreme weather not only can cause damage to your business property, but it can cause delay of income to your business, and extra expenses in getting back up and running in normal working conditions. When the weather hits, you shouldn’t have to wonder if you will be able to continue with your business when it’s over. All business owners need to be prepared for a weather event before it happens. Getting organized with the following simple guidelines and recommendations will help you and your business get started in preparing for extreme weather.
• Develop a response plan for extreme weather for your business. Communicate this plan to all employees prior to any events, and have it handy to re-distribute if a weather event is headed your way. This should include emergency procedures, contact information for employees, contractors, and insurance carriers, and evacuation routes out of the area if emergency personnel require you to leave.
• When entering into any business contract, consider how extreme weather might affect it. If the contract is for a job your business is performing, whether it’s for a construction or service job, factoring weather risk into the project and cost at the outset is wise.
• Document and keep copies of all paperwork throughout a weather event. Maintaining accurate records is highly important and valuable if a claim arises. This will help put your business and any client you are working with back intact much swifter in the event of a claim from extreme weather.
• Watch your weather forecasts and pay attention to any extreme weather headed to your area. NOAA Radio, AccuWeather, and Red Cross are a few of the major agencies who have weather and disaster apps available and able to alert you to weather events.
• Verify with your insurance agent that you are properly insured against an extreme weather event that could affect your business.
Whether dealing with an unprecedented episode of tornadoes, an impending wildfire, or another Polar Vortex, your business needs to be ready. You won’t be able to stop the weather, but you are able to prepare for it.