Hurricane Preparedness









Summer is here and with it comes the start of the annual hurricane season.  The hurricane season typically runs June 1 through November 30.  Studies of recent hurricanes show that direct and indirect damage may be significantly reduced by implementing a Hurricane Emergency Action Plan.  An effective plan includes action steps addressing conditions before, during, and after a storm.  The key components of a hurricane preparedness and action plan include the following:

Pre-Hurricane Planning

A Hurricane` Emergency Action plan should be developed to include an Emergency Response Team (ERT), storm tracking procedures, specific procedures for proper facility preparedness and shutdown, as well as coordination with local authorities, such as police and fire departments, Civil Defense, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and others.  Have materials on hand in the event of shutdown procedures.  These materials include storm shutters, pre-fitted plywood or other coverings, such as waterproof sheets.

Facility Shutdown Procedures

Procedures for proper facility preparedness and shutdown should be developed and tested on a regular basis.  These procedures should include:

  • Creating a backup of computer system data.
  • Removing loose yard and roof debris and tying down anything stored outside.
  • Protecting building openings with storm shutters, pre-fitted plywood, or other covering to minimize damage from flying or floating debris.
  • Covering key stock and equipment may be covered with waterproof sheets

Impending hurricane Procedures

Typically the National Weather Service provides 24- to 48-hour warnings before a hurricane is likely to approach landfall. Two terms are used with the National Weather Service notices:

  • Hurricane Watch: Notice whenever there is a threat of hurricane conditions within 24-36 hours.
  • Hurricane Warning: Notice when hurricane conditions are expected within 24 hours or less

Once the warning has been issued, the facility shutdown procedures should be started.

During the Hurricane

The ERT and/or site security should only stay at the facility if deemed safe to do so.  The facility should be monitored to watch for damaged windows, doors, piping, and roof coverings.  Be alert for damaged equipment or wiring that may lead to fires.

After the Hurricane

When allowed by local authorities, secure the site and begin the damage assessment to buildings and equipment.  Separate damaged from undamaged materials.  Damaged items should be documented and repairs should be prioritized.  All fire protection, electrical systems, natural gas lines, fluid transfer operations, production and maintenance equipment and building structures should be examined by qualified individuals before returning to service.

Hurricanes damage countless small businesses each year.  Following the procedures above can help minimize the damage to your business.

Foremost Insurance Group