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Business owners should have more than one emergency plan

By KBell
May 23, 2012 at 12:23 a.m.


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Woods said any plan is better than no plan, and he encouraged businesses to take the time to sit down and brainstorm with fellow business owners, employees and peers.

"It may save you thousands of dollars. Just a little bit of time could save you money, and the business you save could be your own."

The most important thing businesses should remember when hurricane season beckons is to not put the planning off.

Have a plan A and have a plan B, said Bruce Woods, an agent with State Farm Insurance.

"It could be our year, it could not be. The key is to be ready for it," he said.

Businesses should review their hurricane plans each year, remembering to include plans for employees, vital records protection, equipment protection and monetary preparations.

When it comes to employees, businesses should have multiple ways to contact them and should know their evacuation plans and that of their immediate families, Woods said. Plan for who will be considered essential and non-essential employees to keep the business running and make sure all employees have identification badges, he said.

Businesses should also have plenty of cash on hand to pay for fuel and food in case of a hurricane. They also need to consider how they will meet payroll if a storm were to take down regular operations.

Woods said vital records include tax, banking, employees' personal information and supplier information.

"Identification protection is your liability," he said to business owners. "Shred records or secure them. That information nowadays is gold in the wrong hands."

As far as equipment protection goes, Woods recommended having all electrical equipment on a surge protector and making sure a business will be secure in case a hurricane takes out its alarm system. If a business is renting a building, it should know whether the landlord has the building insured and whose responsibility it is to secure the building.

Finally, Woods touched on insurance coverage, saying businesses should know well ahead of time their coverage plan. Will insurance cover utility interruption? Loss of income? Debris removal?

Woods recommends taking digital pictures of all equipment and writing down serial numbers.

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