Plan ahead to weather a storm

Before a Storm

  • Inspect and update all insurance information
  • Stay informed on storm
  • Determine evacuation plan when, where and how
  • Back up data to servers or to memory devices
  • Clean and prepare drainage systems and gutters
  • Board up or shutter windows
  • Update all emergency contacts

During a Storm

  • Monitor your building for damage or leaks
  • Monitor equipment that needs to stay online
  • If the power goes out, turn switches off until safety checks can be made

After a Storm

  • Wait until the area has been given an all clear before attempting to re-enter
  • Assess structural damage and mitigate hazards
  • Alert appropriate services to service calls as needed

In the event of a power outage, the BPUB will restore power to critical infrastructures like power and sewer plants, hospitals, police and fire. The next consideration for service restoration are the greatest number of customers who can be restored quickly. Outage resolutions continue until all customer services are back online and operational.

Weather and time are two factors that can never be controlled. With that in mind, preparation and planning before disaster strikes is something that can help a small business recover after a disaster like a hurricane.

The Brownsville Public Utilities Board (BPUB), with a guide from the United States Small Business Administration (SBA), has some tips for small business that are essential for continuing operations following a disaster.

Preparations made now, like creating and updating your own disaster plan, checking equipment like generators to ensure they are working, cross-training employees on various critical duties and protecting your hard-to-replace assets can make a difference in taking care of business sooner or being shut down for days or even weeks. The guidelines below are loosely based on the annual emergency plan that the BPUB has in place for such events.

Conduct a business assessment

  • Assess your vulnerability based on region
  • Identify critical business systems
  • Know when to evacuate or shelter-in-place

Create a communications plan and emergency contact telephone numbers for:

  • Your employees and their in-case-of-emergency contact
  • Local and state law enforcement, medical and fire services
  • Telephone, water, gas and electric companies
  • Neighboring businesses
  • Your insurance carriers
  • National Weather Service

Employee preparedness capacity

  • Train in basic first-aid and CPR techniques
  • Identify individuals who are trained
  • Clarify employee roles in the event of a disaster or emergency

Identify a continuity plan for customers and vendors

  • Contact numbers for customers and vendors
  • Contact customers and vendors concerning a mutual business continuity plan.
  • Consider developing a plan if product delivery is interrupted

The key is to think ahead. Making preparations for the safety and well-being of employees and business is how our community keeps functioning in the face of disaster. Learn about SBA’s Disaster Assistance programs, an online course to help review the SBA’s disaster assistance programs and tips.