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Preparing for a Hurricane

Posted: 7/22/21

Category: Blogs

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As we enter the heart of hurricane season, it pays to be prepared. Successfully navigate your business through a hurricane using these tips:

Before the Hurricane Hits:

  • Develop a multiphasic plan, allowing time over days to remove equipment, inventory, machinery, and reduce non-essential personnel. Allow sufficient time for evacuation
  • Plan for a supply of potable and non-potable water and fuel. Fill vehicles prior to evacuating, as fuel could be scarce from days to weeks afterwards, and do not return on an empty tank. Likewise, if utilities are out, there may be no water for drinking, washing, cleaning, using in processes, or even to flush the toilet
  • Identify and protect important records and documents, including safeguarding electronic documents by backing up at a redundant, remote server.
  • Conduct a perimeter check and remove debris, trim tree branches, and perform required maintenance. Debris, branches, and other loose items can become missiles in high winds
  • Review insurance coverage and ensure it is appropriate
  • Employees may be scattered, and communication may become limited or fail completely, consider the following steps:
    • Ensure you know where evacuating employees are heading, based upon the storms path and size, it is common to have employees evacuating to different states
    • Consider a daily check in with employees daily via text message or email
    • If company phones are issued, consider the use of different mobile carriers in case one is affected
    • Obtain a secondary, and possible tertiary contact method for employees to relay vital communications if necessary
  • Remember, tropical force winds, rain, and rising tides can begin to occur 24-48 hours before landfall. This should be considered when developing policies and plans. A late evacuation may create hazards and unsafe conditions for employees

After a Hurricane:

  • More accidents, and thus, more fatalities occur after the storm has passed than before or during the hurricane itself through indirect events (flooding, building stability, animals, generator misuse, etc.)
  • The plan should not be complete at the end of the storm, but rather identify policies and procedures to return to work safely. Considerations should be made for:
    • Live, exposed, or damaged electrical systems
    • Gas leaks
    • Structural damage, including collapse or weakening leading to later collapse
    • Bites, stings, and events occurring from unwelcome visitors such as rodents, spiders, and snakes that are often present in flood waters
    • Flooding after the storm, as a result of continuous rains and changing winds

Heritage is your partner for natural disaster response, and we’re always on standby to help you get back to normal as quickly and safely as possible.

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