Preparing for a Hurricane
As Hurricane Irma approaches the East Coast with José close behind, I want to share with you some steps to take in order to help prepare your business if you will be impacted by these storms! Even though they are not sure how Irma will affect a lot of the southern states, I’d rather be over-prepared than not prepared at all! There are so many unknowns right now, and ANY part of the south could still be effected. Even if Irma does not directly impact you, the wind gusts caused by the storm could cause serious power outages throughout the south. Rest-assured that I am taking all of these precautions myself, and I highly recommend you do the same!
Keep Your Clients Updated
The first thing you need to do is contact all of your clients. Let them know that the hurricane may cause delays in your turnaround time. Trust me — they are going to understand and they want you to be safe! They may even offer to edit any catalogs themselves in order to help you out. Even if you are further north and you are not expecting to be hit by the storm, wind gusts can still cause power outages in your area. Tornadoes frequently accompany hurricanes, and states surrounding the storm could still be affected. If there’s even a small chance you could experience issues from a storm like Irma, it’s best to be prepared. Make sure you clients are aware that even if you are not expecting issues, there is always a possibility for delays!
Backup All of Your Files
You don’t want to lose any of the catalogs you’ve already worked on, so make sure you backup of all of your files on a small hard drive and put it in a waterproof box. I use the Seagate Backup Plus external hard drive for traveling. It’s small and compact, but holds a lot of files on it. We have a waterproof safe that is well out of the way of any possible flooding damage, but if you do not have a safe in your house, you can pick up a pretty inexpensive watertight box. Also, make sure you put any important business documents in this box! Keep it in an area that is safest from flooding or other potential damage. If you have to evacuate, you can easily pack it in your car to take with you. You may also want to consider using online cloud backups for files!
Move Equipment to a Safe Area in the House
This may not be crucial for everyone, but it’s best to prepare your equipment in case you have unexpected flooding. Even if you do not think your house could fall victim to flooding, make sure that your expensive equipment is not left in an area where it will be susceptible to water damage. I’d recommend moving computers, tablets, laptops, cameras, etc. away from any windows and on the middle floor of your house. If you don’t have a middle floor, leave it on the bottom floor, but on top of shelves, cabinets, or tables. There is no guarantee that your equipment will be safe, but doing this is your best bet to keep these items protected.
Prep Electronics and Chargers
If your power goes out, one of the few ways you will be able to charge a laptop is if you get a power inverter and charge it with your car. I don’t recommend this, as it could drain your car battery. That’s something you will *probably* need in this situation. Forget about charging the laptop — you have already informed your clients that there could be delays! Instead, make sure you have a solar charger so you can keep your phone completely charged! At this point, I don’t expect you to be doing any work, but if you need to contact your clients for anything, you can use your phone to email, call, or text them. Honestly if you find yourself in this scenario, keep that phone charged and use it to call for help if you need it!
Please please PLEASE don’t forget to take these necessary steps to make sure your business is protected and all of your necessary documents are safe. I know it’s easy to forget about these things during all of the craziness, but you’ll be so thankful you did! My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone in Florida and others in the Caribbean who have been affected by Hurricane Irma! To everyone staying and everyone on the road evacuating: please stay safe!
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