Facilities Managers: Prepared For a “Quiet” Hurricane Season?

May 15, 2015

Prepared For a "Quiet" Hurricane Season?

If you’re a facilities manager who gets a little anxious as the thermometer climbs with the passage of spring to warmer summer temperatures, you’ll be relieved to know weather experts are forecasting a quieter-than-usual hurricane season.

Due to the El Niño effect and cooling in the Atlantic Ocean, Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorological Project team predicts seven storms will form during the 2015 hurricane season which runs from June 1-Nov. 30.

Out of those seven storms, Colorado State researchers believe only three will become hurricanes and only one will be classified as a major Category 3 hurricane, with sustained winds hitting or exceeding 111 mph.

But that’s not the norm and still doesn’t begin to include all of the other weather-related events that your facility will face over the course of a year, according to the American Meteorological Society (AMS).

The U.S. faces more extreme weather than any other country on the planet during a typical year, according to the AMS.

  • 10 hurricanes
  • 1,000 tornadoes
  • 5,000 flood events
  • 10,000 severe thunderstorms

Moreover, these numbers don’t take into account some 12,000 people who are hospitalized annually due to extreme weather conditions.

In fact, these shifts in extreme weather conditions prompted the Department of Health and Human Services to issue Primary Protection: Enhancing Health Care Resilience for a Changing Climate, a report that addresses the effects of climate change on healthcare facilities.

The purpose of this report, emphasizing preparedness and resiliency by providing “key tools and insights to improve the climate resilience of the full spectrum of health care delivery setting at the institution (campus or facility) level,” is a sound one, as it promotes readiness not just during the hurricane season but throughout the entire year.

Here are five important, easy-to-follow steps you and your staff can take year-round to enhance the safety of your facility and the people who work in it when weather-related emergencies arise.

1. Protect your facility’s connection to reliable electrical power by doing routine maintenance that reduces daily wear-and-tear.

2. Consider extending that winter time telecommuting strategy to include the summer months when floods can and do arise.

3. Implement a safe floor program that does more than placing signs next to a spill or uneven surface.

4. Schedule practice runs of your facility’s emergency operations plans.

5. If you haven’t done so lately, please take some time to review and update your emergency operations plans soon.

Look for more suggestions on improving your facility’s emergency preparedness by subscribing to our Facebook and Twitter feeds that are frequently updated every week.

For guidance on preparing your facility for severe weather conditions, contact Vanguard Resources.