Hurricane Preparedness for Business

Many parts of the United States, including Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal areas, Hawaii, parts of the Southwest, Puerto Rico, the Pacific Coast, and the U.S. Virgin Islands and territories in the Pacific may be directly affected by heavy rains, strong winds, wind-driven rain, coastal and inland floods, tornadoes, and coastal storm surges resulting from tropical storms and hurricanes. The Ready Business Hurricane Toolkit helps leaders take action to protect employees, protect customers, and help ensure business continuity as well.

The National Hurricane Center reports the greatest threat to life and property along the coasts are storm surge and large waves caused by hurricanes. In addition, heavy rainfall can result in extensive flooding, including inland flooding. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, inland flooding accounts for more than 50 percent of hurricane-related deaths each year. Furthermore hurricane-force winds and windborne debris from tropical storms and hurricanes can destroy buildings and mobile homes and pose a major risk to people and property.

If your organization is vulnerable to hurricanes, it is important that you understand your risk, develop a preparedness and mitigation plan, and take action. Doing so will not only increase the safety of employees and customers, but it will help you remain in business after disasters, such as tropical storms and hurricanes, strike. Maintaining business continuity is important. When you are able to continue operations after a disaster, you also improve your community’s ability to recover.

Following the steps in the Ready Business Program as a part of your overall business continuity planning will help protect assets (people, property, operations); sustain the capability to provide goods and services to customers and/or supply chain; maintain cash flow; preserve competitive advantage and reputation; and provide the ability to meet legal, regulatory, financial, and contractual obligations.

Nonprofit organizations can also benefit from the Ready Business Program as business continuity will protect staff, clients, and property while allowing operations to continue.

Experts estimate that 75 percent of businesses without continuity planning will fail within three years of a disaster. The Ready Business Program offers information to complete continuity planning, including resources from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Business Continuity Plan website.

Businesses and their staff face a variety of hazards:

  • Natural hazards like floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes.
  • Health hazards such as widespread and serious illnesses like the flu.
  • Human-caused hazards including accidents and acts of violence.
  • Technology-related hazards like power outages and equipment failure.

There is much that a business leader can do to prepare his or her organization for the most likely hazards. Visit The Ready Business page to help you make a plan to get ready for these hazards.

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