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Earlier this year, experts predicted this year’s Atlantic Hurricane Season would range from “slightly above” to “above” average, but now some are forecasting a “normal” season. These changes can be contributed to predictions of a mild El Niño and a cooling central tropical Atlantic Ocean. Regardless of the less serious forecasts, all small business owners should have a plan in place in case of a storm. Here are some Hurricane Season tips for Small Business Owners from the South Florida Regional Planning Council:

Keep emergency contact information such as the nearest hospital and police, along with:

  • Life safety issues or emergencies: 9-1-1
  • Small Business Administration: 1-800-359-2227
  • FEMA Tele-registration hotline: 1-800-621-FEMA

Right now:

  • Take photos of the interior and exterior of your building. These should be updated each year and can help you in verifying insurance and tax credit claims.
  • Inspect all emergency equipment and replace any faulty or missing items.
  • Designate contacts that are crucial to the business: banks, lawyers, accountants, suppliers, etc. Save these contacts and important documents in a portable external hard drive or USB drive
  • Create and distribute an Employee Emergency Contact List, including phone numbers, addresses and alternate contact information for employees in case of an emergency
  • Designate contacts that are crucial to the business: banks, lawyers, accountants, suppliers, etc. Save these contacts and important documents in a portable external hard drive or USB drive
  • Make sure to back up computer files regularly.

Before a Storm:

  • Monitor the progress of the storm carefully and make note of official emergency information and instructions.
  • Move all records, documents, and equipment away from windows.
  • Arrange to pay employees in advance, while banking institutions are still operable.
  • Disconnect all electrical appliances and equipment.

For a more complete Hurricane Season plan, visit the South Florida Regional Planning Council.