Hurricane Risk Advisory Part 1 | Protect your people, your building and your business

Advanced planning during the offseason directly impacts how well you can weather another hurricane season. In recent years, the U.S. mainland has experienced a sharp rise in hurricane activity. If you felt prepared last year, that’s great – keep it up! If you didn’t feel prepared, now is the time to get prepared! Read below for some helpful tips:

  • Maintain a current list of telephone numbers and contacts for emergency action team members, emergency management (civil defense), local police and fire departments, medical facilities , utilities, contractors, vendors, insurance agent/ broker, building owner, HVAC contractor, electrician , plumber, etc.
  • Contact local authorities to plan and coordinate activities before the need for emergency action. That way you will both be better prepared.
  • Designate a person to monitor weather conditions and keep the action plan leader up to date on weather conditions before, during and after a hurricane. Arrange backup communications, such as two-way radios or cellular phones.
  • Arrange an off-site emergency communications control center, such as a hotel meeting room just outside the hurricane area, in case it becomes too dangerous to remain on site.
  • Review your business continuity plan and update as needed, including employee contact information.
  • Remind employees of key elements of your business continuity plan, including post-event communication procedures and work/payroll procedures. Make sure all employees have a paper copy of the plan.
  • Ensure that post-event communications procedures discuss how employees will be notified when to return to work (local radio or TV station public service announcement, telephone call, employee intranet, etc.).
  • Inspect all fire protection and life safety equipment.
  • Provide diesel or gasoline-driven emergency generator on site with full tank of fuel and reserve fuel on-hand (high demand may make it difficult to obtain a generator. Advance arrangements and/or retainers may ensure availability).
  • Determine which company records are vital and make plans to protect/relocate them.
  • Identify vulnerable and/or critical equipment and processes. Provide instructions for safely shutting down processes, data processing equipment, etc. Consider disconnecting and relocating critical equipment to higher elevations.
  • Identify key equipment and stock that will need to be protected with tarpaulins or waterproof covers.
  • Develop and document Disaster Recovery plans for the resumption and restoration of key business systems, applications and tools.
  • Identify actions to take in the event of live electrical wires, leaking gas, flammable liquids, corrosive/toxic materials and damage to foundations or underground piping. Clearly identify who is responsible for each activity. No person should be expected to perform these activities without proper training and experience.
  • Maintain ongoing agreements with contractors for supplies and repairs needed after a hurricane. When possible, use contractors who are outside potential hurricane areas, as local contractors may also have storm damage or local authorities’ needs may be given a higher priority.
  • Maintain emergency supplies throughout hurricane season (drinking water, nonperishable food, medical supplies, flashlights, batteries, walkie-talkies, portable pumps, hose, emergency lighting, lumber, plywood, nails, hand and power tools, plastic covers and tarpaulins, etc.).
  • Maintain straps or other means on hand to brace/anchor yard storage, signs, cranes and roof-mounted equipment.
  • Inspect and repair roof flashings, coverings, drains, gutters and edge strips. Remove debris and unrestrained materials from roofs.
  • Inspect and maintain signs, stacks and tower supports, guy wires, and anchor points.
  • Repair or replace loose or worn door and window latches, hardware, and seals.
  • Provide hurricane shutters and/or plywood for windows and doorways where practical.
  • Prepare for hurricane-related flooding with sandbags and an ample supply of brooms, mops, squeegees and other absorbents to help remove water.
  • Trim or remove any large trees that could fall and damage buildings or impair fire protection or electrical power and communication lines, etc.
  • Arrange for site security after a hurricane.
  • Prepare space for inside storage of dumpsters, yard equipment and yard stock.
  • Evaluate approaches to your facility for bridges or other low-lying areas for emergency access and employee safe routes to return to work.
  • Establish priority/backup personnel or rotation personnel for critical operations and/or processes. Employees may also have personal emergencies and may or may not be available to return to work promptly.
  • Develop plans to stay in contact with employees and their families, as well as support their safety and well-being while away from the workplace.

Stock your Hurricane Preparation Supply Kit

  • Three-day supply of drinking water and nonperishable food
  • Medical supplies/first-aid kits
  • Two-way radios or cell phones (with spare batteries)
  • Emergency  lighting ; flashlights and spare batteries
  • Emergency radio (battery , solar , or crank-powered)
  • Portable pumps and hose
  • Lumber, plywood , nails
  • Hand and power tools
  • Plastic covers and tarpaulins
  • Whistles to signal and direct attention during and after a hurricane
  • Blankets and extra clothing
  • Have all employee, vendor, and client contact information collected and backed up at an off-site location
  • Maintain copies of vital records off site; including business and customer records, utility plans, etc.

For those affected, if you have a claim to report always contact your carrier immediately. It’s the fastest way to get claims processed. Insurance carrier claims teams are available 24/7.

View our the other parts of this Risk Advisory: