Leadership Insights

Five Categories: Secure Your Business for Hurricane Season

With the summer comes rain, humidity, and hurricanes. As a business owner, you want to be prepared for whatever nature throws your way. As the adage goes, hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and be ready for anything in between.

Advance planning will dramatically minimize business impact and increase your chances of recovering quickly after a hurricane. Summit Off Duty Services offers these 5 categories (not to be confused with category 5) of consideration for securing your business before natural disaster strikes.

1. Define and protect critical information and functions

Clearly document and brief the team — during blue sky days — on who will be responsible for maintaining critical functions like customer relations, security, HR, payroll, and supply chain. Of those functions, prioritize and plan for keeping vital functions up and running amid power outages and a possible inaccessible office. Consider a back up office location further away from the coast.

In the event of evacuation, power outages, and a distributed workforce, determine what documentation and essential data may be needed by those able to run the business and be sure it is safe, secure, and cloud-based so that it’s accessible anytime, from anywhere.

2. Prioritize employee safety

Employees are your most valuable asset; support their safety first. By having a hurricane preparedness plan ready to enact, you can free employees sooner rather than later to tend to their homes and evacuate if necessary.

In addition to enabling them to be released quickly, create a plan for checking in on employees’ well-being. Even if it’s as simple as an old-fashioned calling tree to minimize data and battery usage with one simple call. Create a plan for accounting for everyone and identifying needs.

In the case of an evacuation and distributed work force, where many employees may be unable to access the physical location, address:

  • Who is best equipped to remain on or visit the physical location or locations to protect assets?
  • Are the facilities equipped in the event someone gets stuck at the site with food, water and a place to sleep?
  • Does everyone understand their roles and responsibilities, as well as lines of reporting, in the event of a power outage
  • and distributed workforce?
  • Is there a clear plan for maintaining communication and reliable systems for critical work to continue?
  • Does everyone who needs to work remotely have the tools they need to work, including back up power?
  • In the case of a prolonged disaster, is someone available to see to payroll?
3. Check back up power systems

Power failures are one of the most common and likely threats, and also one of the easier threats to mitigate with a host of onsite power backup options available. Having an uninterruptible power supply is critical to keep security systems and cameras running. Some businesses/facilities may also require backup power to pump water out or away from the facility or certain assets to mitigate loss.

4. Shore up additional security resources

At a time when local law enforcement may be strapped, an outsourced security detail is nice to have in your back pocket. Summit Off Duty has experience activating uniformed officers from nearby regions to support business security in the event of natural disasters when local law enforcement must focus on the challenges of protecting, evacuating and providing relief to citizens of that community. Having security partners on standby in advance may help you sleep at night.

5. Check your commercial property insurance policy

Commercial property insurance can be fickle. It may cover damage from natural events – such as lightening or wind – and not cover flood. Generally, if water comes from above — for instance from rain or melting snow overflowing gutters and leaking onto your inventory — you’ll be covered by your standard commercial property insurance. Damage from flooding,
including flooding generated by storm surge, typically is not covered under a standard commercial policy. Read the fine print and know what you have. does not cover flooding.

Flood insurance covers damage to your building and contents caused by flood. This includes losses resulting from water overflowing from rivers or streams, heavy or prolonged rain, storm surge, blocked drain systems or other similar causes.