It is no secret that catastrophic (CAT) events have been increasing in frequency and severity. One only has to look to Hurricane Ida, the wildfires in the West, and even more recently the bomb cyclone that has brought hurricane-force winds and heavy rain throughout the U.S.
While the severity of CAT events is critical to note, so is its reach. Much of the damage caused by Ida occurred in locations far beyond the storm’s initial point of landfall reaching from Louisiana to the northeastern part of the US.
Hurricanes are not the only catastrophic events to reach a broader geography as the intensity and frequency of dangerous events continue to rise. Snowstorms, severe thunderstorms, hailstorms, tornados, derechos and wildfires are becoming more commonplace and showing up in geographies unaccustomed to them.
As the world continues to change, business owners, including those in the lumber and woodworking industries will need to understand their changing risks and take steps to protect their businesses.
So, What Can You Do?
The first step in keeping your business safe against catastrophic weather is to put together a storm/wildfire etc. preparation plan. This plan should consider every aspect of the business, including the facility, equipment, utilities, inventory, and personnel most importantly.
Having a plan is critical in preparing for unexpected weather, but business owners must also ensure they have the means to put that plan into action when the time comes. When a storm hits, operations can quickly be brought to a halt. Lumber and wood businesses should consider making CAT preparedness training part of their initial onboarding process.
The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) offers a free program called EZ-PREP for businesses to create an emergency preparedness and response plan. EZ-PREP is a stand-alone guide with customizable checklists to help you build a plan for responding to operational disruptions caused by severe weather. It is an easy and immediate way for your business to start thinking about how to prepare and respond to any severe weather emergencies.
This tool also complements IBHS’s OFB-EZ (Open for Business-EZ), which is a simple-to-use business continuity program that focuses on recovering after the initial emergency response. It is important to not only prepare for CAT emergencies, but to also consider the larger picture through disaster planning. With disaster planning, you are looking beyond reacting to situations but also preventing business disruptions through a business continuity plan.
The OFB-EZ toolkit helps small businesses take important steps they need to keep functioning in the event of a major disaster or even a small disruption. The goal is to continue to perform the most critical operations, which will help reduce short- and long-term losses to your bottom line.
CAT events are unavoidable and can be unpredictable. As a business owner your best defense is to have preparation plans in place for you to respond and recover quickly. To be best prepared, businesses should implement both programs to protect their businesses and bottom lines.
Links to IBHS’s resources: