Know your hurricanes
Many of your pre-storm decisions will depend on the kind of hurricane that is approaching your facility. Therefore, it’s important to know the details of the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale, which you can find on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website.
Disastersafety.org recommends these steps to prepare your facility for a hurricane:
- Have your building(s) inspected and complete any maintenance needed to ensure your building can stand up to severe weather prior to the storm’s arrival.
- Designate an employee to monitor weather reports and alert your team to the potential of severe weather.
- Review your business continuity plan and update as needed, including employee contact information. If you do not have a business continuity plan, consider the free, easy-to-use business continuity plan toolkit for small businesses offered by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, OFB-EZ® (Open for Business-EZ).
- Remind employees of key elements of your continuity plan and your Emergency Action Plan, including post-event communication procedures and work/payroll procedures. Make sure all employees have a paper copy of the plan. Review emergency shutdown and start-up procedures, such as electrical systems, with appropriate personnel, including alternates.
- If backup power such as a diesel generator is to be used, test your system and establish proper contracts with fuel suppliers for emergency fuel deliveries.
- Re-inspect and replenish emergency supplies inventory, since emergency supplies are often used during the offseason for non-emergency situations.
- Test all life safety equipment.
- Conduct training/simulation exercises for both your business continuity and emergency preparedness/response plans.
Clear away debris
Windborne debris can be life threatening and cause major damage. In the days before an approaching storm, sweep your property and remove any and all debris.
Remove anything on your property that might collect water. Mosquitos proliferate after hurricanes, which could foster the spread of the Zika virus. You want to eliminate and clean out any place where standing water can accumulate and where mosquitos can be born, like your roof and gutters.
Turn off irrigation systems
This is an oft-overlooked step. In the days before a hurricane is going to hit, turn off any watering systems, as you don’t want to add to the problem of post-hurricane standing water.
According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), “during a hurricane, the failure of any opening can allow wind and water to enter a building and wreak havoc. That’s why all windows and glass in doors should be protected well in advance of a storm. Learn how to identify and select the right window protection system for your building to reduce risks from hurricanes and other high-wind events.” They offer an in-depth analysis of each type of window and how to best protect them.
Following these simple steps can help mitigate the worst damage a hurricane can do to your facility. For more help on preparing your facility for emergencies, contact Vanguard Resources.