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National Restaurant Association - Tips to ensure hurricane preparedness

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Tips to ensure hurricane preparedness

Restaurant operators are taking precautions to keep themselves, their employees, guests and businesses safe as Hurricane Matthew barrels toward Florida’s Atlantic Coast as well as the Carolinas.

The hurricane and its aftermath are likely to lead to challenges for operators, including workforce issues, property damage, flooding, power loss, leaks and food spoilage.

The South Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association and Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association are working with their members to prepare. Among their tips:

  1. Involve all co-workers in all levels of emergency planning.
  2. Establish an emergency team to act as leaders during a disaster.
  3. Secure vital employee and financial records. Make sure your data and information technology systems are protected.
  4. Create an emergency contact list for all employees and maintain offsite. Make sure your staff phone tree includes cell phone numbers as well as management contact information.
  5. Have a plan to either shelter in place or evacuate. Make sure you plan for both.
  6. Determine which staff members, materials, procedures and equipment are absolutely necessary for the business to keep operating.
  7. Board up windows and place sandbags by the doors/entrances to reduce flooding.
  8. Remove ice from ice bins or ice machines and unplug all appliances and electronics.
  9. 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.
  10. Reduce food supplies. If you find yourself in need of evacuation and have food on hand, consider donating it to the local fire department, shelters and emergency facilities.

After the storm, survey your restaurant for damage and make temporary repairs. In the event of a power outage, evaluate all food items to make sure they haven’t spoiled. Last, but not least, update your staff members with the latest information so everyone is coordinated and can work together as a team.

Remember: Proper training during a natural disaster can save lives and minimize injuries.

The South Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association offers more tips and information on hurricane preparedness. The Florida Virtual Business Emergency Operations Center provides businesses with valuable information regarding preparedness, response, and recovery issues.

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