Our thoughts this week are very much with our friends on the East Coast as they endure what many are calling the storm of a lifetime (“Frankenstorm” seems too playful and irreverent for something so potentially deadly). As if Hurricane Sandy weren’t enough, a high pressure ridge is blocking the storm’s standard out-to-sea path and pushing it inland. Add to that a wintry cold front from the west plus a full moon driving high tides and you’ve got one massive Halloween meteorological monster.
Folks returning to the East Coast from the Autumn Hong Kong Intl. Lighting Fair  are finding their flights canceled, or being rerouted to Chicago or points west. Lighting showrooms in the Northeast have announced closures — in good company with local schools and public transportation systems. It sounds cliché, but your safety and the safety or your employees and customers are paramount in a situation like this.
While this particular circumstance may be without precedent, how businesses survive disasters (or not) is an important topic. According to the Institute of Business and Home Safety , at least 25 percent of businesses that close because of a disaster never reopen. Disaster preparedness is essential to keep your store secure. Ask yourself:
Could your communicate with your employees in the wake of a disaster? Do you have vital information about each of your employees at the ready? Or at least e-mails and cell phone numbers to contact them, make certain they are safe and make plans to regroup when then danger has passed?
Are your vital records protected? Back up computer files and store them at a safe, remote location.
Do you have the right kind of insurance? This is key to recouping losses, rebuilding inventory and infrastructure. Does your policy cover specific weather-related damage? Are both your property and your inventory insured?
Making these preparations before disasters strike could be the difference between being in a position to help your community rebuild or being another casualty. Stay safe, everyone!