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Get ready at work

All business owners and managers should develop a basic plan to protect their facilities and employees.

• Determine which members of the staff will be needed to carry out hurricane preparations and who can be expected to be available. Some employees may need to assist their own families in the event of an evacuation. Regularly update list of employee phone numbers and distribute to all department heads.

• Develop a simple written plan that includes Hurricane Task Assignments. Outline what needs to be done and who will perform it, such as who will be responsible for getting supplies needed to board up the facility and who will install the boards.

Planning could save your business from storm damage

The following are steps business owners can take to help prevent business losses from the destruction of hurricane force winds.

• Clear out areas with extensive glass frontage as much as possible. If you have shutters, use them; otherwise use precut plywood to board up doors and windows.

• Remove outdoor hanging signs.

• Bring inside or secure any objects that might become airborne and cause damage in strong winds.

• Secure display cases. Use plywood to protect glass display cases or if possible, turn the case’s glass side toward an inside wall.

• Store as much merchandise as high as possible off the floor, especially goods that could be necessary to survival and in short supply after the storm.

• Move merchandise that cannot be stored away from glass and cover it with tarpaulins or heavy plastic.

• Secure all goods in warehouse off the floor and place sandbags in spaces where water could enter.

• Remove papers from lower drawers of desks and file cabinets and place them in plastic bags or containers on top of the cabinets.

• Turn off water heaters, stoves, pilot lights and other burners.

After the storm

Check facilities for obvious structural damage. If there is visible significant damage, do not attempt to enter the building.

Check for downed and tangled power lines and broken sewer or water lines.

Do not take lanterns, torches or any kind of open flame into a damaged building, there may be leaking gas or other flammable materials present.

Make sure electric outlets and appliances throughout the facility are dry and free of water before turning the power back on. If in doubt, have an electrician check conditions to make sure there are no short circuits.

Secure the site. Looting of damaged facilities is possible. Normally the presence of the owner, employees or security guards on the property will discourage looting.

Wear sturdy shoes when walking through debris.

Report damage to the insurance company and document damage with photographs or video. Do not make extensive repairs until a claims adjuster inspects the damage.

Try to make repairs that will prevent more damage or looting, like covering broken windows and holes in the roof.