[Today's guest blogger is Andrew Miller of Socialpreneur.]
On October 29, Hurricane Sandy caused severe damage up and down the East Coast. This incredible storm had high winds and rain to such a great capacity that millions were left without power, homes and businesses were flooded, and downed trees lined the roadways, making travel unsafe for millions of people.
This terrible storm, while predicted, left many unprepared for the extent of the damage that would occur as it hit landfall. People all over the East Coast focused on preparing their families for the storm by purchasing batteries, flashlights, gas, food, and water.
As the storm waters recede and power is restored, families and businesses have to survey the damage. For businesses, there is an important decision to make about when to open their doors. Several things need to be considered because opening too early can put a business, and its owners, at risk for premise liability.
Make sure your business is really ready to reopen after a storm (Hurricane Sandy or otherwise):
- Power. Opening your business prior to having working electricity is a recipe for disaster. Even if daylight appears to be enough for customers to see, it is still not safe. An unlit area away from the windows could cause a customer to fall—and their fall would be your fault.
- Water. Make sure that there is no standing water outside of your building prior to reopening. Large puddles outside of your doors can cause customers to slip and fall. Additionally, water tracked in from the storm needs to be contained on mats so that floors do not become slippery.
- Caution Signs. Purchase caution signs to identify wet floors that can be used during a storm or in any heavy rains. Alerting customers to the dangers from slippery floors is an important step in protecting yourself.
- Insurance. Make sure you have an insurance liability policy that includes harm to customers that are injured on your premises.
- Snow Preparedness. Purchase a snow shovel and sand that can be used on walkways outside of your business and in the parking lot. Make sure that areas are cleared and slippery spots are properly sanded to protect customers.
- Roadways. Check the road to turn into your business to make sure there are no downed power lines or trees. While the roadway leading up to your property may not be your responsibility to maintain, customers injured while pulling into your parking lot could still attempt to include you in a lawsuit.
With any business, if you’re not open, you’re not making any money. But opening your doors before you are truly prepared can lead to injury and lawsuits that could cripple your business. Establishing and implementing policies surrounding bad weather conditions is important to keeping your employees and customers safe and limiting your premise liability.
Does your business have a pre-opening checklist?
About the Author:
Andrew Miller is an experienced Social Media expert and author. He has worked in marketing for over a decade and finds his passion in bringing concepts to life for the world to enjoy. He is also an avid blogger and currently working on a book with his wife about social entrepreneurship. He is a true Socialpreneur and finds that his goal in life is to be an agent for positive social change through both his writing and business endeavors.
Find Andrew on Google+