Protect your business in case of a disaster.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, up to 40% of businesses affected by a natural or human-caused disaster never reopen.
With the approaching storm season, Cintas Corp. issued the top five tips to help retailers prepare for disasters. Cintas will speak about these tips, along with other solutions for retailers, at the annual Professional Retail Store Maintenance National Conference (PRSM2012), booth #603.
“Disasters can be devastating for a business, no matter how big or small the store,” said Rich Doggett, senior director of retail for Cintas. “The majority of tornadoes occur between March and June and hurricanes between May and November, but natural disasters can happen anywhere and at any time. It’s critical for retailers to ensure their emergency plans are aligned and ready.”
The top tips for disaster preparation include:
1. Align staff. An Ad Council survey revealed 62% of businesses do not have an emergency plan in place. Since disasters often occur with little or no time to prepare, develop an emergency response plan and train all team members on evacuation routes and the proper steps for response. Whether the precautions are for a tornado, fire, flood or hurricane, practice emergency plans often to ensure new and old staff are familiar with evacuation and safety measures.
2. Cover windows. As soon as meteorologists identify the emergence of a hurricane or severe weather pattern, contact a service provider to board-up windows. The cost of property damage and destroyed merchandise quickly adds up if windows are not properly covered. Select a service provider that pre-stocks an excess of plywood and will ensure all windows are secured.
3. Maintain emergency equipment. Throughout the year, conduct periodic audits of the store to ensure emergency response equipment is operational. Check fire extinguishers, emergency lights, sprinkler systems and alarms for proper functioning. In addition, test emergency backup power regularly.
4. Avoid hazards. Many workplace hazards can be avoided if appropriate precautions are taken. Keep chemicals secure with controlled dispensing equipment, which can help eliminate the risk of chemical spills during a disaster and reduce the likelihood of fires.
5. Partner with a vendor. A facility services provider can help retailers create a comprehensive emergency plan. Select a vendor with the licenses and certifications to manage emergency equipment and train staff according to Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) regulations. Vendors with the capabilities to also help restore the business to operating condition after the disaster can be an added value.
“From covering windows to checking emergency equipment, preparation is essential for retailers considering a disaster can strike at any time,” said Brian Garry, senior director of marketing for Cintas. “An established plan can help retailers protect customers, staff and minimize loss.”
For more information on Cintas’ tips and retail solutions, go to www.cintas.com/facilityservices.