The weather radio is beeping loudly demanding my attention. Hurricane Irene is on her way and eastern North Carolina is expected to be directly in her path. We are preparing for the worse here. I am taking steps to protect my small business, Mind The Gap Public Relations.
Are you prepared for a weather emergency? Do you have a plan? And how will you communicate to staff and customers?
It maybe too late to develop a comprehensive crisis plan for Hurricane Irene, but you can take some quick steps to protect your business:
1. Back up data off site. You can use a web-based file hosting service such as Dropbox. Secure important paper files (such as building plans, insurance policies, employee contact and identification information, bank account records, supplier and shipping contact lists, computer backups) by putting them in a protected area in safe water and fire proof containers. A second set of those important documents should be stored off-site.
2. Secure physical location. Exactly what is sounds like i.e. board up windows, secure outside equipment, move vehicles to safety, etc.
3. Communicate with staff and customers. Have various ways of getting in touch with staff since communications channels maybe disrupted. Set-up an out-of-area number they can call to say they are OK. For example, it could be your Aunt Jean who lives in the Midwest. Let customers know if x happens then y and z will happen before hand. For example, if the schools are closed then the business will be closed.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has great planning resources on their Ready Business site. And strongly urge you to visit this site as well as think about bringing in a professional to assist you with disaster preparedness in the future if you feel overwhelmed.
I know my small business is worth protecting. Isn’t yours?
Ann Marie van den Hurk, APR, is an accredited public relations professional with over a decade experience bridging the gap between traditional public relations and emerging technologies. Need help reaching your business’s customers, call 302.563.992 to schedule an initial consultation, or contact Mind The Gap Public Relations.

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