Guest Column

Seven Ways New Jersey Business Owners Can Plan Ahead for Hurricane Season


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is calling for an above average hurricane season in 2017. Five tropical storms have already developed this year, including Tropical Storm Emily, which damaged businesses in Florida.

As the height of hurricane season approaches, is your business prepared for power outages, flooding, property damage, lost work time and more?  The longer your business is not operating, the more likely you are to lose customers permanently to your competitors; in fact, up to 40% of small businesses never re-open after a disaster. 

No one wants to consider these misfortunes happening to their business, but with advance planning, businesses will be in a much better position to survive a natural disaster. The New Jersey Business Action Center has seven strategies to help small businesses ride out the next big storm:

Sign Up for E-News


1.    House documents on the cloud, not your office computer:  Most businesses keep on-site records and files that are essential to normal operations. To reduce your vulnerability, determine which records, files, and materials are most important, and back them up. These may include income tax forms, accounting software files, customer contact lists, insurance policies, strategy documents and passwords. From there, save these files on the cloud so you can access them from anywhere. 

2.    Keep office property secure:  Raise computers above the flood level and move them away from large windows; move heavy and fragile objects to low shelves, and secure equipment that could move or fall during a heavy storm. In addition, hire a cyber security expert to make sure your systems are secure and virus free.  Protect your most important documents, credit card numbers, email correspondence and more by hiring an expert to set up a secure system well in advance.

3.    Plan for business continuity:  Establish a clear plan for decision-making if you or your business partners are incapacitated. Ensure passwords as well as keys, alarm codes, phone forwarding, etc., are provided to trusted employees in the event of a disaster. Consider financial obligations you will have during interruption, such as payroll and debt service, and ensure a system is in place to pay bills electronically. Establish a social media presence for your business and use it to communicate with your customers and suppliers about your business’ status. 

4.  Make sure your insurance is current:  Review your commercial insurance coverage with an agent or your insurance center; specifically check the status of your business’s interruption insurance. If disaster occurs, you can file a business interruption insurance claim detailing any lost income.  For insurance and tax purposes, be sure to maintain written and photographic inventories of all important materials and equipment, and store in a safety deposit box if possible. 

5. Consider installing an emergency generator:  Powerful storms may cause power disruption and leave your business vulnerable. Even businesses that are not severely damaged by a storm can suffer losses because of the interruption of normal operations or the loss of perishable stock. Back-up power generation will help protect your data, your perishable inventory and speed the process of getting your business back up and running.

6. Identify a backup location: If the primary location of your business is destroyed or severely damaged, you should identify a backup destination where employees can congregate and clients can visit. This will help create a sense of normalcy and ensure clients that all is well. Backup locations could range from a local coffee shop to a large garage or dry basement with Wi-Fi access.  

7. Don’t forget simple planning: Sometimes the simplest emergency plans are the most effective. Always have extra sets of batteries for when power goes out and critical electronics need to be kept running. Important files should have a written backup somewhere in a safe and secure location like a safe or metal filing cabinet. Have a disaster supply kit handy that includes a battery-powered radio to access National Weather Service information, a battery-powered electronic device charger, a first aid kit, a fire extinguisher, flashlights, extra batteries, waterproof plastic bags and more. 

Although we can’t prevent man-made or natural disasters, business owners can take proactive measures to minimize disruption and reduce loss so you can return to normal operations as soon as possible.


The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Guest Column.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


MorrisTech Meetup Receives Award from Morris County EDC

March 20, 2018

FLORHAM PARK, NJ - The innovative and technology driven MorrisTech Meetup has been awarded the 2017 Non-Profit of the Year Award by the Morris County Economic Development Corporation.

"We are thrilled, proud and grateful to receive this award, and convinced more than ever that Morris County is exceptionally suited to be a thriving tech hub", said founder, Chatham ...

Student-Led March for Our Lives to Take Place in Morristown, Mar. 24

March 21, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ - Morristown and surrounding-area students are planning to participate in a movement called 'March for Our Lives' taking place on Saturday, March 24. Part of a nationwide movement to pass common-sense gun legislation in America, the students plan on gathering in several places across the state of New Jersey, including Morristown, Montclair, Maplewood, ...

National Student Walk Out: MCST Students Have Had #Enough

March 21, 2018

On Wednesday March 14, nearly one million teenagers across the country stood up and walked out of school as part of a nationwide protest calling upon Congress to take action against gun violence. I am proud to have been one of them.

Undeterred by the small size of the school, my friends and classmates at Morris County School of Technology in Denville, NJ participated in the national event at ...

U.S. Fistball Recruiting Players for World Championship Coming to Roxbury

March 23, 2018

The United States Fistball Association is looking for young men and women under the age of 18 who are interested in competing as part of the U.S. National Team, said U.S. Fistball Association President Bob Feid.

With fistball's similarity to volleyball, athletes experienced in volleyball are well-suited and able to learn the technique and rules very quickly. However, anyone under 18 ...

'Trying' explores age, youth and points of history in poignant production

‘Trying’ explores youth, age and points of history in poignant production

By Liz Keill

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The George Street Playhouse presents an engrossing, two-character play based on the real life of Francis Biddle, former Attorney General.

Biddle, a Harvard educated lawyer, served under Franklin Roosevelt and later Harry Truman during the Nuremberg Tribunal. His ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 13

On this episode of AtlantiCast, new clinical studies in the fields of cardiology and immunotherapy, national and statewide recognitions for Atlantic Health System medical centers and the inaugural AtlantiCast Collab Challenge!


Queen Mary and the Cruiser

Queen Mary and the Cruiser by David A. Thomas and Patrick Holmes (Naval Institute Press, 1997)

“Had the forenoon watch and after eating went out onto the fo'c'sle. Just arrived at the top of the ladder by the PO's heads when the wave hit me---waist high---and knocked me over. Looking astern---through the bulkhead door which was open, saw the stern of a ship sticking up out of ...

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Random House, 1965)


In Cold Blood is, quite simply, the grand-daddy of true crime writing, dubbed by Capote, himself, as the first non-fiction novel (although Norman Mailer argued the point when he published The Executioner's Song in 1979.) The conditions under which I read In Cold Blood for the first time were pretty weird, which was another ...