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National Restaurant Association - Hurricane preparedness tips for restaurants issued

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Hurricane preparedness tips for restaurants issued

As tropical storm Isaac moves across the Gulf Coast, restaurateurs in the area should know what to do in the event it develops into a full-blown hurricane, the National Restaurant Association has advised.

According to published reports, Isaac, on its current path, is headed for the Florida panhandle and/or Louisiana by Tuesday night or early Wednesday, the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina hitting New Orleans.

Following are some tips from the Louisiana Restaurant Association and the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association operators can use when preparing for a hurricane or other weather-related event. Remember, needs differ and change from restaurant to restaurant:

Account for all hazards. Plan in advance to manage any emergency situation

Assess the situation. Use common sense and available resources to take care of yourself, your co-workers and your business's recovery

Think first about the basics of survival. Make sure you have access to fresh water, food, clean air and warmth

Talk to your people. Involve all co-workers in all levels of emergency planning

Carefully evaluate internal and external operations. Determine which staff members, materials, procedures and equipment are absolutely necessary for the business to keep operating

Internal communications. Detail how you will be in contact with employees, customers and others during and after a disaster. Make sure you have a staff phone tree, including cell phone numbers, as well as management contact information. Also have benefit contact information and vendor contact information available.

External communications. Make sure you have signs available indicating your restaurant is closed, cancel all reservations and parties and post your closing information on the home page of your website.

Take steps to ensure your safety. Have the upper hand in responding to medical emergencies

Shelter in place or evacuate. Make sure you plan for both possibilities

Conduct a room-by-room walk-through. Determine what needs to be secured and then take steps to secure those physical assets

Secure the area. Board up the windows, place sandbags by the doors/entrances to reduce flooding, remove ice from the ice bins or ice machines and unplug all appliances and electronics

Prepare for utility and essential services disruptions. Know what to do for extended outages during and after a disaster. This could include electricity, potable water, gas and phone service.

Reduce food supplies. If you find yourself in need of evacuation and you have food on hand, consider donating it to the local fire department, shelters and emergency facilities.

Cyber security. Make sure your data and information technology systems are protected.

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