Ready or not, the 2018 hurricane season is upon us. The season officially began on the first of June and runs through the end of November. Researchers at Colorado State University predict this will be a slightly above-average season, with 14 named storms. However, there is always uncertainty with early seasonal outlooks, and initial predictions can be affected by a number of factors. High winds, heavy rainfall, and widespread power outages are some of the dangerous conditions a hurricane brings. It is crucial to be prepared for this potential impact regardless of weather predictions; effective planning can help protect property and people.
Know Your Hurricane Risk
Your risk is based on where you live, building structure, and individual circumstances. Coastal areas are prone to high winds and flooding from heavy rainfall and storm surge, and inland areas can also be affected by a storm’s landfall. Monitor local weather reports to stay informed on any hurricane watches and warnings issued in your area.
Protect Your People
Check and restock your emergency preparedness kits. These kits should include items such as:
- Food and water
- First aid supplies, medications, medical equipment
- Flashlights and extra batteries
- Battery-operated radios to receive the latest emergency information
- Charged communication devices
In the event of a power outage, instruct residents to use flashlights instead of candles to mitigate against the fire risk. Review communication plans- these should address how you will communicate with employees and residents in the event of an emergency. State or local governments may issue voluntary or mandatory evacuation notices; evacuate when ordered to do so and follow your community’s posted evacuation routes. Most injuries caused by hurricanes are often the result of individuals remaining in unsafe locations during the storm. Remember to consider plans to evacuate residents that may need assistance and transportation arrangements.
Protect Your Property
Measures must be taken to mitigate the risk of property damage from strong winds and heavy rain during a hurricane. Secure windows and roofs that lack structural integrity and board windows if necessary. Bring lightweight objects inside that could become airborne during high winds, and tie down or anchor objects that you cannot bring inside (i.e., propane tanks). Trim or remove trees that are located close enough to fall on any buildings, and keep gutters and drains free of debris.
If you are located in an area prone to flooding, ensure the properties grading directs water away from the building and keep sandbags on hand to help with diverting water away from foundations. Elevate critical utilities (i.e., heating systems and electrical panels) above the flood levels. Ensure all necessary employees know how to shut off utilities during an emergency.
After the hurricane has passed, listen to local officials for updates and instructions. If you were in an evacuation zone, execute return-to-home procedures once approved by authorities. Watch out for potentially dangerous floodwaters, downed trees, power lines, and fallen debris. Use caution when entering flooded buildings and always turn off electricity at the main breaker or fuse box; work with a licensed electrician to inspect and repair any electrical equipment that may have been damaged.
Inspect your buildings and properties to assess any damage, and report it to your insurance representative as soon as possible, along with supporting documentation and photographs.
For More Information
Contact your local emergency officials for information specific to your community. For additional weather tips, visit HAI Group’s Risk Management Center or contact your Risk Control Consultant or Account Manager.
Home. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://disastersafety.org
Center, N. H. (2001, January 01). National Hurricane Center. Retrieved from https://www.nhc.noaa.gov
Hurricane Safety. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/hurricane
Home. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.fema.gov