The Bureau of Meteorology has released its Severe Weather Outlook for October to April, showing an increased risk of flooding for eastern Australia and tropical cyclones in the north, with roughly average potential for heatwaves and severe thunderstorms.
The impact for businesses during storm season can be severe, but having the resources and information you need on hand can help mitigate your risks.
We’ve taken the time to do the research, so you can get prepared for storm season now before it’s too late.
Planning should be an essential part of your operations so that your business can continue to function and recover quickly after a storm (or any other disaster for that matter) hits. But what should this plan involve?
Developing a response to a disaster – A Business Continuity Plan
Consider the risks to your business and what you will need in order to be operational after the disaster. A business continuity plan includes;
- identifying and preventing risks where possible
- preparing for risks that you can’t control
- how to respond and recover if an incident or crisis occurs.
Part of this is finding out what emergency items you will require and making sure they’re accessible. Also keep in mind what things will fall into the ‘must have’ versus ‘nice to have’ category, as there is no reason to make your Disaster Response Kit more complicated than it needs to be. This process should also involve checking your policy and reviewing it with your broker to make sure you have adequate insurance to cover your business in an emergency.
What emergency items do businesses need?
When preparing an emergency kit for a business, recommended items to store onsite include:
- A complete first aid kit and first aid manual.
- Battery powered radio, torch, and spare batteries.
- Phone and photographic or video devices (useful for insurance claims).
- Masking tape.
- Plastic sheeting.
- Personal protective equipment – gloves, masks, disinfectant, safety glasses.
- Waterproof bags for valuables.
How to prevent unnecessary storm damage?
There are three simple steps to secure your business premises and prevent unnecessary damage:
- Trim any tree branches hanging over your roof or buildings
- Clear your property of any loose items that may blow about
- Clean your guttering and downpipes
As well as an emergency kit, it pays to make sure you have an information kit handy which includes printed copy of;
- Insurance policies.
- List of employee contact details.
- Emergency services contacts i.e. warning about dangerous weather, road conditions and
- Financial and banking records.
Back-up data regularly on an external drive or use cloud storage, and make sure that more than one person has access to spare keys or security codes.
What if we need to evacuate?
If a severe storm strikes then there is always the possibility you may be evacuated by local authorities. Having an evacuation procedure as part of your Business Continuity Plan ensures that staff are clear about what to do and lessens the risk of possible injury.
For the evacuation procedure you should:
- Work out both primary and secondary evacuation routes and exits.
- Create floor plans that feature these and post them up where people can see them.
- If you work with hazardous materials, or critical operations, put in place procedures for handling these.
- Have regular evacuation drills.
Appoint someone to be responsible for carrying out an evacuation and decide on when this should take place. For instance, should it be waiting until local authorities say it should happen? Or when there is a good chance of injury if staff stay in the building?
To get ready for storm season visit the Queensland Government site Preparing your Business visit: Get Ready Queensland
Is your business insured for storm season? Contact Allsafe Insurance Brokers for advice on getting the right type of commercial insurance, we cover a wide variety of industries.