1. Stay Informed
To begin, staying informed about the storm's trajectory, strength, and potential impact is paramount. Keep a close watch on weather updates from reliable sources and heed official advisories, especially during storm events like Storm Ciaran. Designate a point of contact within your organisation to relay crucial information to your team.
2. Create an Emergency Plan
A well-thought-out emergency plan is your first line of defence. Ensure your plan includes procedures for before, during, and after the storm, covering evacuation routes, shelter locations, communication protocols, and a list of key contacts. Regularly train your employees on these procedures and keep the plan up to date.
3. Secure Important Documents
Safeguarding your crucial business documents and data is essential. Back up your digital records and store physical copies in waterproof containers or off-site locations. This precaution will help you recover swiftly once the storm has passed.
4. Protect Your Property
Preserving your property during UK storms can be achieved through practical measures. Here's what you can do:
- Secure Windows and Doors: Consider reinforcing windows and doors to prevent wind and debris damage.
- Stabilise Loose Items: Remove or secure any loose objects outside that could become hazards during high winds.
- Trim Trees and Branches: Prune branches that could potentially damage your property if they fall.
- Inspect Your Roof: Ensure your roof is in good condition to prevent leaks and water damage.
- Elevate Equipment: For warehouses, consider elevating sensitive equipment to protect it from potential flooding.
- Check Drainage Systems: Clean and clear drainage systems to prevent water accumulation.
5. Data Backup
Protect your data by regularly backing it up and storing copies offsite. Ensure financial records, customer information, and other crucial data are secured. Having backups in place will significantly aid in a faster recovery, particularly after the passage of a storm.
6. Insurance Coverage
Review your insurance policies to confirm they cover storm-related damage. Understand your coverage and explore additional options if necessary.
7. Utilities and Power
Consider preparing for potential power outages with backup generators to maintain essential services.
8. Electrical Plant and Computers
Install surge protectors and sump pumps to guard against electrical surges and flooding.
9. Employee Safety
Prioritise the safety of your employees. Clearly communicate work hours, remote working options, and when it's safe to return to the workplace. Ensure your team has the resources and information needed to protect themselves and their families.
10. Post-Storm Assessment
After the storm, assess your property and assets carefully, documenting any damage. Initiate the claims process with your insurance provider but remember to prioritise safety. Only return to regular operations when it's safe to do so.