October 6, 2017

Is Your Disaster Management Plan Working?

It’s hard to turn on the news lately and not see picture after picture of the massive devastation from the trifecta of Hurricanes Irma, Harvey, and most recently Maria. While it’s evident that it will take years for a full recovery, many businesses have had to quickly implement their disaster management plans. Some have discovered that they were not as comprehensive as they needed to be in order to handle the damage these recent hurricanes caused.

True Religion Facilities Manager Louisette Sanchez said, “Each of our stores has a plan that goes into action as impending weather events are forecasted. We stay in close communication with our District Managers who are skilled at determining what is best for their stores.”

How Can Retail Stores Prepare for Hurricanes?

There are four key areas that retail stores need to keep in mind in order to be prepared for adverse weather, including hurricanes.

  • Follow all local guidelines for evacuation or other actions
  • Ensure sandbag inventory is full
  • Board up all windows and remove blade signs
  • Communicate with staff and district managers regularly

Follow Local Guidelines

It may seem like common sense, but if local authorities are instructing citizens to evacuate, each store must follow suit. Most times, they have access to in-depth information about the weather and are looking to keep everyone safe.

However, if evacuation is unnecessary, store and district managers should keep a close eye on the forecasts as the storm approaches so as to accurately gauge the preparation needed. Sometimes it may only require windows to be boarded; other times, more action is needed.

Ensure Sandbag Inventory is Full

The average cost of sandbags ranges from $70-$80 per bag so stores want to estimate as closely as possible the amount needed since they may not have room for unused bags. Sandbags are typically purchased a few days prior to the storm when forecasts become more reliable. The main purpose of the sandbags is to keep as much water out of the stores to prevent inventory losses.

Employees should be instructed on how to place the sandbags.

“We relied on Branded Group to assist us with this training when Hurricane Irma hit,” says Sanchez. “It’s one of the value-added services they have provided to us.”

Board up Windows

For stores that do not have hurricane-proof glass and are street level, boarding up all windows is critical. While the landlord may be responsible for this in some locations, district managers should be in communication with them to ensure protection of the store and its inventory.

Since many homeowners will be vying for the same supply of plywood and shutters, store managers need to be ensure they act in a timely manner to secure what they need as well as have contractors ready to install them if needed. This is why so many rely on Branded Group to secure this inventory in advance.

Communicate with staff and district managers regularly

Communications begin as soon as the threat of a damaging storm is identified. District managers keep close tabs on the stores and are ready to put their disaster plans into effect when needed.

“I’m in constant contact with our DM’s across our entire fleet of approximately 130 stores in the U.S. and Canada,” says Sanchez. “We’re ready to assist them in any way in order to keep losses to a minimum.”

Additionally, Sanchez noted that property managers, landlords, and even the town’s officials have responsibilities to ensure their buildings and properties are protected. For example, if a sidewalk or road gets damaged, the town would be tasked with repairs, whereas a landlord remove the blade signs for all of his storefronts.

“We’re typically on hurricane alert from August through October,” said Sanchez, “and we’re ready to assist our stores if needed before and after the storm. When we need additional help, we call on the experts at Branded Group.”

  • Branded Group is ready to help our retail clients before, during, and after bad weather strikes. Our team can assist with:
  • Disaster planning, review, and practice runs
  • Training for store staff
  • Rebuilding and recovering after the storm

If you have additional questions, please give us a ring at 323-940-1444. At Branded Group we’re always ready to help you #BeBetter!

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