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Plan ahead for disasters

Before a Business Interruption 

Emergency Notification Systems

Horry County offers emergency alerts through CodeRED. You may register multiple addresses or phone numbers allowing you to receive alerts for both your home and workplace. Sign up for CodeRED.

The City of Myrtle Beach utilizes Regroup to send emergency notifications during city-wide emergencies such as hurricanes. Sign up for Regroup.

Document. Document. Document.

  • Catalog your business items.
  • Take photos and video of inventory, inside and outside of building and equipment to have documentation for insurance company. Do this both before a disaster hits and after.


Review Insurance Coverage

  • Meet with your insurance provider to review current coverage for such things as physical losses, flood coverage and business interruption.
  • Understand what it covers and what it does not.
  • Understand what your deductible is, if applicable.
  • Consider how you will pay creditors and employees.
  • Plan how you will provide for your own income if your business is interrupted.
  • Find out what records your insurance provider will want to see after an emergency and store them in a safe place.


Mitigation, Securing Your Equipment, Building Structure, Parking Lots and More!

  • Conduct a room-by-room walk-through to determine what needs to be secured.
  • Attach equipment and cabinets to walls or other stable equipment.
  • Place heavy or breakable objects on low shelves.
  • Move workstations away from large windows, if possible.
  • Elevate equipment off of the floor to avoid electrical hazards and damage in the event of flooding.
  • Make sure all paths to exits are free from clutter and are easily reached.
  • Make sure all fire extinguishing equipment is easily accessible and within its service date.
  • Replace all smoke detector batteries once a year and test them regularly to ensure that they are working.
  • Have drain systems/pipes/catch basins/parking lots assessed for any issues that could lead to major sinkholes, busted pipes, clogged drains, and deteriorated asphalt in parking lots.
  • Review your insurance every year and let your insurance company know when you move or maintain a new piece of important equipment.


Prepare for Utility Disruptions

  • Plan ahead for extended disruptions during and after a disaster. Carefully examine which utilities are vital to your business's day-to-day operation. Speak with service providers about potential alternatives and identify backup options.
  • Learn how and when to turn off utilities. If you turn the gas off, a professional must turn it back on. Do not attempt to turn the gas back on yourself.
  • Consider purchasing portable generators to power the vital aspects of your business in an emergency. Never use a generator inside as it may produce deadly carbon monoxide gas. It is a good idea to pre-wire the generator to the most important equipment. Periodically test the backup system's operability.
  • Decide how you will communicate with employees, customers, suppliers and others. Use cell phones, walkie-talkies or other devices that do not rely on electricity as a back up to your telecommunications system.
  • Plan a secondary means of accessing the Internet if it is vital to your company's day-to-day operations.
  • If food storage or refrigeration is an issue for your business, identify a vendor in advance that sells ice and dry ice in case you can't use refrigeration equipment.
  • Have a solar or crank power charger for phones.
  • Charge all of your phones and other rechargeable equipment as a storm approaches.
  • Texting sometimes works even when cell phone lines are jammed. Try texting if you cannot get through on your cell phone.
  • A phone with an out-of-state area code sometimes works better after a disaster. 
  • Have a backup generator to maintain emergency back up power for critical functions and a way to hardwire it into important equipment. 


Secure Facilities

  • Identify what production machinery, computers, custom parts or other essential equipment is needed to keep your business open.
  • Plan how to replace or repair vital equipment if it is damaged or destroyed.
  • Identify more than one supplier who can replace or repair your equipment.
  • Store extra supplies, materials and equipment for use in an emergency.
  • Plan what you will do if your building or store is not usable.
  • Consider if you can run the business from a different location or from your home
  • Develop relationships with other companies to use their facilities in case a disaster makes your location unusable.
  • Identify and comply with all local, state and federal codes and other safety regulations that apply to your business.
  • Talk to your insurance provider about what impact any of these steps may have on your policy.


Have Disaster Supplies on Hand

  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries
  • First-aid kit and manual
  • Emergency food and water
  • Nonelectric can opener
  • Essential medicines
  • Cash and credit cards


Cybersecurity

  • Protect your data and information technology systems.
  • Backup your computer data.
  • Whether your off-site back up is on a server or in the cloud, be sure to test it. Can you access your information from a third-party computer? If so do you know how to do it? Can you access individual documents and files or do you have to perform a complete system restore to open photos, documents and programs? 
  • Keep your login and password information for all websites important to your business written down and in a secure offsite location. Make sure more than one employee has this information.
  • Keep all of your software product keys available in a secure off-site location so that if you have to reinstall your software you can. OFB-EZ has a form for recording this information.
  • If a storm is approaching send your employees home with their laptops so that they can work off-site if necessary. 
  • Use OFB-EZ to document all of your computer equipment. Type, version and model number, serial number, processor speed and memory.  


Develop an Emergency Communications Plan

  • Organize, develop and administer your preparedness program.
     

Other Preparedness Resources

  • OFB-EZ (Open for Business-EZ) - This document contains several planning tools, such as evaluation checklists, to help business users understand their risks and forms for users to enter and store important contact information for employees, key customers, suppliers and vendors.
  • Small Business Preparedness Guide - This guide from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce helps businesses minimize the impact of disasters on employees, property and operations.
  • Business Re-entry Registration - South Carolina Emergency Management Division and the S.C. Department of Commerce coordinate the post-disaster re-entry certification program.
  • Horry County Re-entry – Visit the site for re-entry procedures for business owners and essential employees
  • U.S. Small Business Administration Emergency Preparedness - For small business owners, being prepared can mean staying in business following a disaster. Explore the resources that can help you develop an emergency preparedness and disaster relief plan.
  • U.S. Chamber Resilience in a Box - Features a toolbox of resources to educate newcomers on disaster preparedness and business resilience.
  • U.S. Chamber Business Preparedness Checklist - A self-assessment to rate your business’ readiness.
  • U.S. Chamber Top 20 Tips for Business Preparedness - Simple tips and steps to advance your company’s readiness for any disaster.
  • American Red Cross, Ready Rating Program - American Red Cross Ready Rating™, a first-of-its-kind membership program designed to help businesses, organizations and schools become better prepared for emergencies. Members join this free, self-paced program and complete a 123-point self-assessment of your level of preparedness to reveal areas for improvement.
  • CDC Natural Disasters, Severe Weather and COVID-19 – Know how the COVID-19 pandemic can affect disaster preparedness and recovery, and what you can do to keep yourself and others safe.
  • Ready.Gov - The Ready Business program helps business leaders make a preparedness plan to get ready for hazards.
  • Emergency Response Resources - The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has created a document communicating key messages associated to the multiple hazards related to storms, floods and hurricanes.


Insurance

Federal Emergency Management Agency's Flood Smart - Flood insurance is the best way to protect yourself from devastating financial loss. 

Additional Resources

Check out this list of investors offering planning/recovery resources

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Chamber investors receive exclusive pricing on payroll management services. The QBS secure online system provides you and your employees with access to vital payroll information allowing you to run reports, print W-2s and view pay stubs all in one place, any time.

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