Editor's Note: One year after Hurricane Sandy laid waste to countless businesses and homes across the eastern seaboard, we take a look back at those dramatic few days. For more, check out all of our Sandy Anniversary coverage.
All told, damage estimates clock in somewhere between $50 billion and $68 billion. Insurance payouts were often less than expected; flood zones have widened and repair crews have been slow to act. Some hard-hit residents fret that they'll never be able to return to their homes while businesses fear reduced sales becoming their new normal.
If it isn't already, the severity of this natural disaster should be something of a wake-up call for owners across the U.S. As a resource, here is a selection of articles to not only help you prepare for the next disaster but allow you to reflect on last year's storm.
Create safety plans for your business. Your business should also have a business continuity plan that outlines what you will do and who you can call on to help keep your business running in the event of a disaster.
Read more: A Year After Sandy, Business Owners Living a New Normal
Develop several ways to alert employees of an
emergency. For instance, you may use email blasts,
text blasts and voice broadcasting, which allows you to
simultaneously send a voice message to everyone's office phone
and cell phone. Also, install alarms throughout the building and
test them regularly. For retailers and other businesses that
often have customers on site, consider installing intercoms to
issue instructions to staff and customers at the same time.
Read more: How to Create a Disaster Plan for Your Business
Most business owners don’t have interruption insurance, which offers to reimburse all or part of the income a business might have generated without an interruption. Cost may be a factor in why entrepreneurs pass on such coverage: Policy prices range from $750 to $10,000 or more, depending on business size.
Read more: Business Interruption Insurance: What It Will -- and Won't -- Cover
While many assume that insurance will cover business losses, that’s often not the case. As many affected by Hurricane Sandy's storm surges are learning, some policies don’t cover flood damage. But damage caused by wind or electrical surges may be covered.
Read more: 6 Lessons from Small Businesses Damaged by Superstorm Sandy
during a disaster:
Fight feelings of isolation through relaxation techniques. In addition to the change in your routine, you may also be feeling cooped up and anxious about not being able to leave your home. Make use of relaxation and meditation techniques such as yoga and deep breathing exercises to calm your nerves during times of heightened insecurity.
Read more: 5 Ways to Cope With Working From Home
When the lights go out, rely on a back-up power
source to keep your devices on. One way to go is to
carry (and keep charged) a portable battery, such as a myCharge universal power pack from RFA
Brands. Starting at about $50, these extended batteries can
recharge Apple and Android smartphones and tablets.
Read more: 3 Tools for Keeping Your Gadgets Running When the Power Goes Out
The Small Business Administration may be able to provide some financial help. Through the agency's Office of Disaster Assistance, any business, regardless of size, that is located in a declared disaster area can apply for low-rate, long-term loans to help recover from physical damage. Even if your property was not damaged, you can apply for a working capital loan from the SBA to relieve the economic injury caused by the disaster.
Read more: 5 Steps for Managing Disaster Recovery for Your Business
Act when the memory is fresh. During a
crisis, teams that normally interact very little often have a
chance to collaborate. That type of cross-communication spurs
creativity and innovation, so you want to prioritize improvements
before everyone settles back into their usual routines.
Read more: 3 Disaster Recovery Strategies That Spur Innovation
on Hurricane Sandy:
The superstorm forced coastal water surges from Florida to Maine -- with parts of New York City seeing the worst flooding. Recorded water level values there exceeded 9 feet above the Mean Higher High Water line.
Read more: Hurricane Sandy and Its Aftermath: By the Numbers
All told, economic losses, including business damage,
reached upwards of $50 billion. Many business
owners have been left to clean up the mess on their own -- and
some are still on the hook for ruined goods and equipment because
they didn’t have, or couldn’t obtain, flood insurance
Read more: Will Businesses Be Protected If Superstorms Like Sandy Strike Again?
For the trio behind Rockaway Plate Lunch
Truck -- Mike Diamond (aka the Beastie
Boys' Mike D), celebrity chef Sam Talbot and designer/hotelier
Robert McKinley -- feeding locals left decimated by Superstorm
Sandy was the easy part. The bigger challenge came in
addressing the continuing needs of the economically devastated
New York beach community by transitioning the food truck from
a relief effort into a sustainable business and mentoring
Read more: How a Beastie Boy's Food Truck Helped the Rockaways Rebuild After Hurricane Sandy
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