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Hurricane Preparedness Tips for Businesses

Ron Martin - Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Hurricane season in North America runs from June 1st to November 30th. While hurricanes are known as a concern for the southeast region of the country, 40 of the 50 U.S. states have experienced hurricanes or tropical storms since 1866, according to FEMA. With that in mind, we recommend the following tips and resources to help you and your organization prepare for hurricanes and tropical storms:

Here are some of the key tips to remember:

Before the threat of a hurricane

  • Plan now for the possibility of a hurricane or tropical storm striking your area
  • Your emergency response plan should include options for evacuation, operating offsite, and sheltering in place
  • Establish a plan for communicating with your employees, clients, and other key stakeholders - both from your existing location and from potential offsite locations
  • Prior to any storm, inspect and take action to fully seal your building envelope (roof, flashing, windows, exterior walls, and doors). Enlist qualified roofers and other contractors now. Maintenance and repairs now can help head off larger issues following a storm. Also, roofers and other contractors will be much more available before a storm than afterwards
  • Ensure proper water drainage from roofs and ground areas - especially next to your buildings
  • Secure emergency generators from third party suppliers well ahead of a storm
  • Practice and drill for weather emergencies

When there's a threat of a hurricane

  • Lift up any appliances, electronics, and computer equipment off the floor (in case of flooding) and secure plastic tarps over all computer equipment and other valuables that are susceptible to water
  • Roll up rugs and get them off the floor
  • Make sure sump pumps are fully operational and batteries are charged (if applicable)
  • Prior to leaving the building, shut off electrical service to the main breaker, if the electrical system and outlets could come under water. But, if you need electrical service for other emergency purposes, it is typically best to leave your electrical service on
  • Remove any debris or outside items that could damage property by becoming airborne
  • Secure all windows and exterior doors
  • Secure tarps and plywood, as well as identify a water remediation vendor ahead of time

Following a storm

  • Quickly assess damage (when safe to do so) and coordinate efforts with your insurance agent.

With the prevalence of storm tracking and live look-ins, hurricanes may seem "routine." However, for those involved, there is nothing ordinary about hurricanes and tropical storms. By planning ahead and taking smart, timely action, you can help your organization and personnel weather storms safely.


 
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