How SMEs should prepare for ‘rain bomb’ surging down the east coast

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Residents in northern NSW deal with rising floodwaters. AAP Image/Jason O’Brien

The worst is yet to come, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet says, as Sydney and the east coast brace for a “one-in-1000-year” weather event caused by a ‘rain bomb’ headed south from Queensland — which has already claimed the lives of at least eight people.

Businesses should prepare now as the deadly weather heads their way, and there are easy ways to do so.

“For business, it’s not just about the immediate damage but the flow-on impact of dealing with power outages, transport restrictions, loss of customers or key staff and/or disrupted communications,” NSW Small Business Commissioner Chris Lamont says.

“Every small business should have a plan that prepares for the unexpected. Business continuity planning is an essential ingredient for growing and sustaining a good business.”

From the outset, Lamont says, it is essential that all businesses have a Business Continuity Plan.

In the meantime, here are 12 tips for businesses from Lamont and the NSW SES:

  1. Have an emergency kit handy, including torches, a portable radio, first aid, candles, emergency contacts and a waterproof bag for valuables.
  2. Ensure all work vehicles are covered and stored away from trees, powerlines and drains — it’s even better if you can move them to a high point in a multi-level car park.
  3. Ensure any signage out front, or items stored at the back of your premises, will not become airborne in strong damaging winds.
  4. Ensure your backups on your computer systems are recent — if not, back up now.
  5. Move your stock and computer technology as high as possible, whether that’s on top of cupboards, into the attic or onto the highest floor.
  6. Unplug and avoid using electrical equipment connected to mains power, landline phones and modems.
  7. Keep local radio on to stay across all information, updates and advice.
  8. Speak to your staff to understand their emergency plans — find out how they get home from work, where they live and who their dependents are.
  9. If there is a flash flooding warning, leave low-lying areas before evacuation — the NSW SES says it is “the best action to take, but only if it is safe to do so”.
  10. When evacuating, switch off mains electricity and gas mains, and take your emergency kit plus some cash — you may need it.
  11. Call your emergency contacts to let them know what’s going on, and notify customers and suppliers that you’re affected by the wild weather — social media channels can be useful for updating large swathes fast if you’ve got to go.
  12. If you or your staff find yourselves trapped by rising floodwaters, head to the highest part of a sturdy building and call triple zero.

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