Preparing for a Hurricane

May 19, 2020

As hurricane season approaches, it’s important to be prepared. Use this checklist to help make sure you’re ready.

36 to 48 Hours Prior to Landfall

  • Monitor the weather channel, and map the hurricane’s progress. Inspect and repair drains, gutters, and flashings.
  • Remove all loose objects from the roof. Strap or anchor all roof-mounted equipment such as HVAC units and exhaust vents to the roof structure (e.g., the joists).
  • Consider stopping operations that depend on outside power sources. Start and run all fire pumps, generators, and sump pumps for 30 minutes or more.
  • Update employee home and cell phone lists. Consider gathering email addresses for an email distribution list.
  • Update phone lists of roofing, electrical, restoration, and equipment contractors.
  • Protect/relocate vital records as necessary. Instruct employees to put files away in cabinets and to remove all loose files from floors and desks. Confidential, critical, or valuable documents should be properly secured.
  • Back-up all electronic data and store in a water/wind protected site. Consider sending copies of backups to other facilities not in a hurricane zone.
  • Install hurricane shutters/plywood over windows and doors. Do not block emergency exits. Brace large openings such as dock doors.
  • Anchor, secure, dispose of, or relocate anything in the yard that could potentially blow away or blow into and damage a facility. Inspect all fire protection equipment (sprinkler control valves, fire pumps, suction tanks, etc.).
  • Identify areas of refuge for employees who are to remain on site.

 36 Hours Prior to Landfall

  • Ensure that employees who are to remain have current telephone contacts, lists, supplies, and equipment (potable water, nonperishable food, first aid supplies, flashlights, walkie-talkies, cellular telephones).
  • Have cash on hand for post-hurricane needs (buying food and supplies or paying employees and contractors).
  • Anchor or fill above ground tanks with product or water.
  • Clean roof drains, storm drains, and catch basins.
  • Remove or secure satellite dishes and antennas.
  • Cover computers, machinery, and stock with tarps, plastic, or waterproof covers. (Focus on critical or valuable items first.)
  • Arrange for incoming shipments to be diverted. Expedite outgoing shipments as much as possible.
  • Relocate remaining storage as high off the floor as possible or at the very least onto pallets.
  • Isolate, neutralize, or remove any chemicals that can react violently with each other.
  • Contact the gas utility. Determine if it is advisable to turn off the gas valve.
  • Inform employees how to obtain information on site closure and reopening.
  • Notify vendors, delivery companies, truckers, and site visitors of site closure.
  • Revise telephone answering system to inform callers of site closure.
  • Identify alternate customer facilities and incorporate alternate facility numbers into the telephone answering system.
  • Tour entire property. Check roofs, roof-mounted equipment, yards, signs, doors, windows, electrical systems, and the interiors.
  • Prepare to deactivate, and disconnect if possible, all noncritical, nonessential, and sensitive electrical equipment.
  • Plug or seal floor drains, particularly those below grade live, if appropriate.

The items and issues listed are general in nature and may not address all the issues or preparations that may be necessary for a given location or occupancy. Remember that the first priority is to ensure employee safety.

This article is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a guarantee of coverage and should not be used as a substitute for an individualized assessment of one’s need for insurance or alternative risk services. Nor should it be relied upon as legal advice, which should only be rendered by a competent attorney familiar with the facts and circumstances of a particular matter. Copyright Beecher Carlson Insurance Services, LLC. All Rights Reserved.