Like any residential home, your business isn’t immune to the damage and chaos brought on by severe weather. Hurricanes, flooding, blizzards and extreme winds can shut down entire cities. That can sometimes force businesses to shutter their doors, and in some cases, while their employees are still inside the building.
While you hope you’ll never have to deal with a disaster, you should have an emergency action plan in place, for the safety of your workers. Part of that emergency plan should include supplies that your employees may need, should they be unable to leave the premises during a weather-related emergency.
Following are some items no business should be without:
Flashlights or lanterns
Keep battery-powered flashlights or lanterns in specific locations, and make sure employees know where they are. If the power goes out suddenly, having immediate access to such a light can keep workers calm. Check batteries periodically to ensure these devices are in good working order.
Backup power generator
Many businesses can benefit from the use of backup power supplies. While these can help your business stay up-and-running when your electrical service provider goes out, power generators can be extremely beneficial during a storm. You’ll be covered if the storm knocks out your electricity, making it possible for employees to keep the lights on and even use computers and charge personal devices.
While blankets aren’t a routine fixture of many offices and business facilities, they’re very important when power and/or heat goes out, or even when stranded employees are trying to get comfortable as they weather the storm. Have a few blankets on hand – or more, if you employ a large number of workers – and store them in an easily accessible location. Blankets will provide warmth and comfort throughout a difficult time.
A good storm kit will have some non-perishable food items to help stranded employees through a difficult time. Focus on high-calorie products like granola bars, canned beans and other non-perishable products that can be turned to in an emergency. The more workers you have at your facilities, the larger this stockpile of food should be.
Storms can cut off communications, so don’t count on phone lines, cell phone towers, television or the Internet to be working during or after an extreme storm. A portable radio, however, will always remain functional, so long as it has battery power, and a radio station is still broadcasting. Invest in a portable radio and make sure it’s outfitted with fully charged batteries. It’s also a good idea to keep some backup batteries in the storm kit. With a storm radio, you can keep up with the news. It could be your business’s only connection to the outside world when the storm is at its worst.
Don’t expose your business and employees to unnecessary risks when some simple steps can greatly improve your emergency preparedness. Take a proactive approach to defending against severe storms and you’ll be prepared if and when a disaster strikes.