Practice Your Emergency Plans
You may have extensive hurricane preparedness plans in place; however, they mean nothing without practice. Create your emergency notification plan and then practice it – not once, but several times, so that it becomes second nature for employees to learn how to respond and use a notification system, and it becomes easier to evacuate the building or to take the steps necessary to secure data. In the event of a hurricane, you may have several days of warning before the disaster strikes, so it’s up to you, as a business leader, to take immediate action.
Testing your hurricane preparedness plans can be challenging logistically, but there are many ways to practice your strategies. You can perform a tabletop drill (there are companies, including Preparis, that provide strategic crisis management drills) of your emergency notification plan with your crisis team, which will allow members to perform virtual exercises of decisions you may have to make during a hurricane. This will allow you to see if your plans and protocols need improvement, and will enable you to practice the procedures that are imperative to company safety.
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Additionally, it is very important to have access to your hurricane preparedness plans at any time. Many companies create these plans and leave them in binders at the office, which are ultimately useless during the event of an evacuation or when personnel are located elsewhere. Try to put your emergency notification plan online or anywhere that can be accessed through a document management system, or, more importantly, a mobile device, as you may have to evacuate from home and you’ll need to follow the steps of the plan without a computer nearby. Being able to access your hurricane contingency plans, data and emergency contact lists is very important.
If you’re considering buying a home that lies in a hurricane zone, be sure to ask your realtor if the structure is Miami-Dade building code compliant. If you already live in one of these areas, and you’re preparing to remodel or perhaps build a new home, consult with your contractor about the building codes, and be sure that he or she is prepared to build. Hurricane force winds will quickly damage property and take lives. The best way to protect yourself and your family is to heed warnings, but also ensure that your home is well built and that your have functional exterior shutters in compliance standards.