Hurricane season started June 1 and runs through November 30. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its initial outlook for the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season as “active” and “above normal”.
Your Better Business Bureau offers tips to help you prepare for disasters, both as an individual and as a business leader.
- Create and maintain an inventory of property: Take photos or video of all property, whether your personal possessions or your business’ equipment. Keep receipts and serial numbers for major items. Store the photos or video as well as paperwork in a safe place, away from your home or business, such as a safe deposit box at your financial institution.
- Keep important numbers handy: Make sure you have access to your policy and insurance numbers at all times. While hurricanes give some advanced warning, other disasters can strike with no notice.
- Read your insurance policies carefully: Read the fine print so you know what is and is not covered. It’s especially important to know what you’re entitled to receive after a disaster. Remember that most insurance does not cover flooding; you’ll need a separate flood insurance policy. And if you operate a home-based business, most homeowner’s insurance policies do not generally cover home-based business losses.
- Get a kit: Keep enough emergency supplies on hand for you and those in your care, whether at home or at the office. There should be enough supplies to last at least three days. Keep water, non-perishable food, first aid, flashlights, a battery-powered radio and other essential items (visit www.ready.gov for a full checklist of supplies) in a safe but easily-accessible location.
- Make a plan: There are a number of resources to help you prepare a plan to operate in the aftermath of a disaster. FEMA's ready.gov/business offers checklists; Louisiana's Emergency Management site offers guided questions to help you prepare; the Small Business Administration offers a wealth of resources. Make sure you have a plan that works for your business. Individuals also need a plan – work with your neighbors, colleagues, families and others to create a plan that fits your circumstances, whether you will be evacuating or sheltering in place.
For additional information and advice you can trust, start with bbb.org.