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News & Press: Industry News

Tips for businesses in Hurricane Dorian's path

Tuesday, September 3, 2019  
Posted by: SCRLA Staff
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Hurricane Dorian Path


Hotel Preparedness

The hotel industry learned valuable lessons after Hurricane Irene, the seventh costliest storm in US history, struck the East Coast in 2011. According to the American Hotel and Lodging Association, the storm was a learning experience for the hospitality industry. 

Top issues hoteliers faced
Labor challenges (employees being unable to get to work)
Power loss
Wind damage
Food spoilage

What hoteliers would do differently
Get a generator
Better train employees
Put a procedure for dealing with prepaid rooms needing to be cancelled
Revise action plans
Foster better employee 
Action items every step of the way

In advance
Establish an Emergency Team to act as leaders during a disaster
Review your hotel’s emergency plan with necessary employees
Review insurance coverages and reporting requirements with your agent
Have failsafe keys or back up in place
Secure storage of vital employee and financial records
Assess threat for landscaping, nearby buildings, signs, etc. 
Designate a signal phone number for employees to call for the latest information on schedules, closing, rooms, etc.
Hold a practice drill
Check all window and door locks
Secure sandbags if flooding is anticipated
Block rooms for employees/corporate team members
Conduct inventory and order additional non-perishable food and paper products
Store as much water as possible in tubs, sinks, and other containers
Turn all coolers/freezers to lowest setting
Provide glowsticks to guests and place in halls and stairs
Keep guests informed with latest information

Do not allow anyone to leave building, unless there is an extreme emergency
Shut down elevator when sustained winds reach 40 mph
Prohibit alcohol consumption by employees and guest

Survey damage and make temporary repairs 
Evaluate all food items (if there was a power outage)
Update staff about situation 

Restaurant Preparedness

While restaurants would most likely be empty in the event of a much storm or disaster, there are steps eateries can follow to prepare for worst-case scenarios. 

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.

Properly training employees how to manage guests during a natural disaster can save lives and minimize injuries. 

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