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Tornado Safety Tips for Business Owners

By Brett Snider, Esq. | Last updated on

A tornado can destroy your business just as easily as your home. What can business owners do to keep their assets and important documents safe?

While authorities are just starting to tally up the damage from Monday's deadly tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, a prior tornado that hit the same city in 1999 caused about $1 billion in damage to homes and businesses, according to The Economist.

By following these tips, you can protect your business before and after a tornado threatens it:

1. Create a Tornado Safety Plan.

When a tornado strikes your business, you want your employees to be prepared as well as safe, so you need to create a tornado safety plan.

Just like with emergency fire plans, a smart business should drill its staff on the proper procedures for tornado alerts, such as telling employees which areas of the building are the safest from tornado damage.

Good places for shelter can potentially include:

  • Smaller ground-floor rooms (even bathrooms and closets),
  • Basements,
  • Hallways (with no windows), or
  • A FEMA-approved safe room.

2. Protect Your Data.

Your business may be one of many that still keeps all backup records on nothing but paper. But a tornado will make quick work of your documents if it touches down and destroys your business.

One smart way to ensure that your sensitive business data is to use some form of cloud storage, which will ensure that your data won't be harmed even if your business is blown away. Another option is to have a tornado-safe room to house your company servers.

3. Have a Tornado Contingency Plan in Place.

After a tornado hits, your office and business infrastructure may be severely crippled, and you need to be prepared to pick your business up after a disaster.

Make sure your plan includes:

  • Business insurance claim information,
  • Client and vendor contacts,
  • Alternative work spaces or telecommuting options, and
  • Instructions on how to handle other vital aspects of your business.

Your Tornado Contingency Plan doesn't need to be in a small glass box with a tiny hammer that reads "Break in Case of Tornado," but it should probably be available in both paper and digital forms outside of the office.

4. Watch the Weather.

Of course, when you hear a tornado warning, treat it seriously and initiate your safety procedures for you, your employees, and your customers. By planning ahead and acting quickly when a tornado strikes, you'll be better prepared to weather the storm.

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