The survival of a community can depend on the ability of businesses and homeowners to minimize the risks–wind damage and flooding–that accompany hurricanes.
Here are some hurricane preparedness tips for homes and businesses:
Have a disaster plan in place. Find escape routes from the home or business and establish places to meet. Have on hand emergency phone numbers; business owners should designate a contact person who will communicate with other employees, customers and suppliers. Families should ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the “family contact.”
Insurance. According to the National Flood Insurance Program, only 25 to 50 percent of U.S. homeowners in flood-prone areas have flood insurance. Business owners an individuals should review their insurance policies before the storm hits. Business interruption insurance–which replaces income lost during down time caused by a covered peril–should be considered.
Disaster survival kit. It should include a flashlight and extra batteries, portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries, a first-aid kit, non-perishable packaged and canned food, water (a weeks’ worth), an manual can opener, sturdy shoes, a basic tool kit, waterproof plastic bags, and cash.
Important business records should be stored at an off-site location at least 50 miles away. Computer data should be backed up, saved on diskettes or CD Roms and stored off-site.
- Windows. Install storm shutters over all exposed windows and other glass surfaces in the home or business. Plywood shutters–1/2-inch marine plywood is best–can also offer protection from flying debris.
The SBA makes low-interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters and non-farm businesses of all sizes.
To learn more about US government disaster assistance programs as well as steps you can take in advance to protect your business and family, visit.