As hurricane season nears, small business owners must be prepared with a communications plan should storms strike. According to AT&T, they have invested billions of dollars in its networks and systems to ensure reliability and to prepare for the hurricane season and other natural disasters. To help you be prepared during the hurricane season, AT&T offers the following recommendations:
- Outline details of evacuation and shelter in-place plans. Establish a backup location for your business and a meeting place for all employees.
- Assemble a crisis-management team. Determine who will be responsible for an action item and who will be their backup. Maintain an updated contact list, including cell phone and home phone numbers and e-mail addresses, for all employees.
- Set up a call forwarding service to a predetermined backup location. Set up a single or multiple hotline number(s) for employees, employee families, customers and partners, as appropriate, to call so that all parties know about the business situation and emergency plan.
- Train employees, and practice executing your plan. Familiarize all employees with action items within plans for both evacuation and shelter-in-place. Practice these plans until everyone is comfortable with their role and responsibility.
- Protect hardware, software, data records, employee records, etc. Routinely back up these files to an off-site location. Use a generator for supplying backup power to vital computer hardware and other mission-critical equipment. Prearrange replacement of damaged hardware with vendors to ensure quick business recovery.
- Coordinate efforts with neighboring businesses and building management. Working with your neighbors and property landlords is an excellent way to pool resources.
- Be aware that disasters impacting your suppliers also impact your business. Outline a plan for supply-chain continuity for business essentials.
And don’t forget to check out these great hurricane survival tips.