Guide

How to Protect Your Business Against Cyclones 

Preparing your business for extreme weather can begin even before the cyclone season begins. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the key things you should take into consideration. 

Cyclones can have a devastating influence on your company’s operations, causing trading to be disrupted and extended periods of closure as a result of the weather. Despite the fact that natural occurrences, such as cyclones, are unavoidable, harm can be minimised if measures are taken to keep your business going or assist it to recover as quickly as feasible.

Steps to Take to Prepare Your Small Business for a Cyclone

  • Make a point of gathering all loose objects in the open air and storing them safely inside, as these items could be picked up by powerful winds and cause property damage or bodily injury.
  • Check the roofing and make sure it is in good condition. Particular attention should be paid to ensuring that all roof gutters are clear because very heavy rains can result in gutters overflowing and backing up, allowing water to leak into the structure’s interior.
  • Fasteners on a metal roof that has already been subjected to cyclone wind loads may show signs of deterioration. Replace the fastening screws to ensure that they will not fail when the next cyclone strikes.
  • In addition to roof panels, walling panels (for steel frame buildings) should be checked because the stresses caused by a cyclone might cause these to break as well.
  • Place plywood in front of large windows, particularly those on the windward side. This can help to prevent a shattered window from breaking. It can also result in an overpressure of the structure’s interior, which can exacerbate damage to the walls and roof of the building. A good idea is to clearly name each panel of plywood or other similar material that has been set aside for window protection in the case of a cyclone so that they may be easily installed in the event of a cyclone.
  • Make sure that the loading dock doors have adequate reinforcement (loading dock doors can fail at even low wind speeds).
  • Make certain that there are no barriers to storm water drains and pits to prevent the enormous quantities of storm water that are predicted during a cyclone from flowing through them.
  • Take into consideration elevating sensitive stock and equipment above the floor level to safeguard it from water damage. This will also aid you in resuming operations as soon as possible following the cyclone. 
  • Consider putting chemicals (particularly those that are prone to water contamination) and other harmful materials above ground level so that, in the event of a flood, run-off water will not be contaminated by any chemicals that you store in your property.
  • Make sure that all vegetation, particularly trees and huge branches, is properly trimmed to reduce the possibility that branches or trunks will fall on and damage your buildings during a cyclone.
  • Ensure that all doors and windows are closed and locked. Boarding up any windows that can be safely done so around the perimeter of the structure.
  • Ascertain that critical records are adequately safeguarded. It is possible that they will remain on-site and that they will cover the storage cabinets carrying the documents with plastic and elevate them above ground level. Better yet, move these records, or duplicates, to a secure location away from the office, ensuring a measure of redundancy in the case of a fire or other disaster.
  • In lieu of a carport, vehicles should be parked in a garage or within the confines of a building. Vehicles should be parked away from trees if none of the above options are available to you.
  • Make sure that you have enough supply of items that you will require during and in the aftermath of a cyclone, such as torches with fresh batteries, brooms, mop and buckets.

Make Sure Your Business Continuity Plan Is Up to Date

Making certain that the information in your business continuity plan is up to date can help to minimise the negative impact of any natural events that impact your ability to run your business as normal. For example, make certain that the contact information for all of your employees, critical suppliers, customers, and your insurance broker and insurer (both office and mobile) is current.

Contingency plans for mission-critical functions should be reviewed annually because they can vary from one year to the next. Consider the following questions:

  1. What is the maximum amount of downtime my company can withstand without suffering a substantial financial hit?
  2. Are any functions required to be performed in order to comply with legal or regulatory obligations?
  3. What business processes are critical to the retention of my most important customers?
  4. Do I have a backup website available through which I can communicate with my employees, customers, and suppliers? Have I informed everyone of the existence of this website?

Finally, it is strongly recommended that you consult with your insurance advisor to ensure that you have sufficient coverage in place such as public liability insurance to protect yourself. Inquire about business interruption insurance, and be certain that the amount of coverage your company has is sufficient to avoid falling into the trap of underinsurance.

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