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Hurricane preparedness for businesses

Posted on September 9, 2021

Significant rainfall and high winds pose many risks for your business, and the best way to be prepared is to have an action plan in place. You should always maintain an awareness of developing and approaching storm and hurricane activity; this will allow you ample time to take the necessary steps to keep your staff and business safe.

We encourage all our customers with exposure to potentially severe and damaging windstorms, hurricanes, and rain events to have a Hurricane / Windstorm Emergency Response Plan. It will help to reduce damage, restore operations, and protect lives. Before hurricane and storm season, we suggest you develop and review a hurricane preparedness and safety plan. This document should outline the exact timeline and steps you and your employees will take to safely secure the business in the event of a storm.

When implementing a hurricane or windstorm plan, consider other emergency plans, systems, or practices already in place that will support surviving and recovering from a storm. Some of these recommendations include:

In advance of the hurricane/windstorm – Before the hurricane or tropical storm making landfall, there are several items that you, a business owner, can do to prepare.
1. Ensuring that the appropriate staff and volunteers are familiar with the Hurricane / Windstorm Emergency Response Plan and the processes designated at each location.
2. If possible, maintain a backup electrical power supply in case power is disrupted for an extended period following the storm (typically, you should prepare for up to 72 hours of power disruption.)
3. Back up all critical data securely to the cloud, or a separate device, that can be stored at a location that is protected from the storm.
4. Establish and maintain emergency contact information for all staff, volunteers, and key service providers.

A few days ahead of the hurricane/windstorm – in the days leading up to the hurricane or tropical storm making landfall, there are several items that you, a business owner, can do to prepare.

1. Review the emergency action plan with all involved personnel — contractors, staff and volunteers as needed.
2. Check all roofs and make repairs as time allows. Remove all loose items from the roof and remove any debris that has accumulated. Ensure roof drains, gutters, downspouts are clear of obstructions.
3. Remove any debris from outdoor areas that might become a projectile during the storm.\ hurricane
4. Ensure roof drains, gutters, downspouts are clear of obstructions.
5. Remove loose, outdoor, inactive equipment such as BBQ’s, play equipment, furniture etc.
6. Anchor portable buildings or trailers to the ground.
7. Secure outdoor equipment that cannot be moved. You do not want your equipment to blow away or tip over in the high wind.
8. Consider putting sandbags in front of doorways, if required, to help redirect storm or flood water away from the building (the sandbags will not completely stop water entry but can help divert water.).
9. Verify all fire and life safety systems are in service (i.e., water supplies, sprinklers, fire alarms).

During the storm…

1. During the storm, be safe.

Once the hurricane has passed, and it is safe to return to your business, you should,
1. Check that it is safe to enter your property.
2. Verify that water and power supplies are available to your facility and have qualified personnel thoroughly check the building and surrounding property.
3. Ensure essential systems (i.e., heating, fire detection, security systems, fire pumps etc.) are still operational.
4. Inspect your facility for any damage and initiate emergency repairs immediately. Be aware that additional hazards such as live electrical wires, broken glass, unsafe loads etc., may now be present.
5. Begin salvage as soon as possible to prevent further damage. Downed trees can also be a hazard if they are in contact with power lines or at risk of causing bodily injury or property damage. Only qualified contractors or personnel should remove downed or partially downed trees.
6. If damages have occurred, you will need to establish a repair protocol and contact your insurance broker.

If you have any questions about your commercial insurance policy or need to make an insurance claim, please call us today at 1-855-726-8627.