Whether for snow season, hurricane season, or other natural disasters, having a proper emergency preparedness plan is important for any industry, any time of year. For both large and small businesses, the lack of a proper disaster plan could mean the loss of thousands of dollars in products on top of potential destruction of stores. However, by having the right plan in place with the right Facilities Maintenance (FM) partner, businesses can feel confident in their preparations and come out of any emergency with little service disruption, if any. With the Atlantic hurricane season in effect, retailers and FM partners are heavily preparing for any potential storms that might affect their footprint.
According to NPR, the 2021 Atlantic season will likely go down as one of the most expensive in history. The 20 weather/climate disaster events that took place across the United States in 2021 exceeded in losses of over $1 billion alone. 2022’s storm season is predicted to be an even more active season with 19 named storms and at least nine predicted hurricanes.
Preparing for the storm season often includes the creation of a disaster plan. The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, Inc. (FLASH) Ready Business Toolkit has found that 75% of stores without a storm preparedness plan will continue to fail even three years after a hurricane or tropical storm.
Fallen trees, flooding and windows or doors damaged by wind or debris are only a few of the potential damages a store location can face. Store closures caused by floods or fallen power lines can prevent access to stores leading to a drop in sales and, not to mention, essential services for the communities they serve. Even a small tropical storm can have devastating effects. In 2018, following Hurricanes Florence and Michael, Publix’s Q3 sales would have been 3.1% higher than reported if not for the damages faced during the storms.
There is no one-size-fits-all for proper storm preparation. Each plan and tactic will be different depending on the size, accessibility and location of a store to its customers. Nevertheless, all plans should start out with a similar process.
Step #1: Conduct a Preparedness and Communication Plan
Store managers, associates and FM partners should collaborate on a storm preparedness plan that ensures all buildings, customers and associates will be protected in the event of a threatening storm. It is also crucial to ensure some form of emergency communications are in place in case main lines are lost. Build out a plan that covers how to manage the business if access to the workplace is limited by road closures, floods or debris or if powerlines are down, limiting communication.
Step #2: Secure All Locations
Work with your FM partners to secure all buildings. Laying out sandbags, building out water dams, placing shutters and shields along glass and entrances, securing refrigeration technology and clearing parking lots from any potential debris are just a few of the many steps FM companies can take to secure businesses prior to the arrival of a storm. Taking steps to protect businesses at the beginning of the season can save money and time.
Step #3: Store Emergency Supplies
In case of emergency, all stores should have some form of emergency supply kit on site or on hand. During hurricane season, stores should keep materials that would aid in a hurricane. Flashlights, first-aid kits, and battery-powered radios are necessities. Store managers should speak with FM partners to learn about any additional items they could add that would be beneficial to safely securing technology within the store such as a backup generator or sump pumps. on site or on hand. During hurricane season, stores should keep materials that would aid in a hurricane. Flashlights, first-aid kits, and battery-powered radios are necessities. Store managers should speak with FM partners to learn about any additional items they could add that would be beneficial to safely securing technology within the store such as a backup generator or sump pumps.
How City Supports Its Partners to Plan Ahead of the Hurricane Season
The strong, trusted relationships between City and its partners means both parties work together to create detailed emergency plans and City’s partners are taken care of no matter what. The motto “Plan, Protect & Recover” guides City teams in keeping its partners safe during a storm. Prior to the start of hurricane season, City technicians and store managers begin to communicate out the “Plan” phase of action. City teams go out in the field to survey our partners’ stores. After surveying, technicians perform internal and external services to prep stores including putting up shutters, laying out sandbags and securing refrigeration technology.
These proactive storm services, along with frequent communication and guidance, are only a portion of the advantages City’s partners receive with the fully integrated City model. “When the situation is at its worst, City is at our best,” shares Cristee Monahan, City’s Vice President of Central Operations, “Supporting the grocery and retail business, we understand it is imperative to our partners to stay open as long as they possibly can to serve their communities. During our planning phase, we have our technicians make sure our partners’ sites are ready to weather any kind of storm at any given time.”
When the situation is at its worst, City is at our best… We understand it is imperative to our partners to stay open as long as they possibly can to serve their communities.Cristee Monahan, City’s Vice President of Central Operations
As we face the upcoming hurricane season, the strong relationship and collaboration between City’s dedicated disaster recovery teams (known at City as “Storm Troopers”) partners and their store managers, will be what makes the difference between an ordinary, and possibly detrimental, storm season and a successful one.
To learn more about City, the largest and fastest growing privately-owned facilities management firm in the United States, and how you could benefit from partnering with City email Sales@cfm-us.com or visit www.cityfm.us.com.