5 Steps to Hurricane Preparedness

The time of year when hurricanes are most likely to make landfall has arrived. Having a plan is one of the best ways to avoid the hazards associated with hurricanes. Review these five steps to hurricane preparedness.

1. Become a hurricane expert.

There are various classifications (tropical depression, tropical storm, hurricane and major hurricane) for hurricanes based on their maximum sustained wind speeds.  In addition, there are various categories (1 through 5) used for forecasting and categorizing hurricanes.  A category 1 hurricane may only cause damage to a roof or power lines, while a category 5 could cause complete collapse to structures.  Do some research and be able to differentiate between these categories and classifications.  It could be important to the safety of those under your care.

2. Have a plan.

You may not be able to avoid a hurricane, but you can be prepared.  Have a plan in place before a hurricane arrives so you don’t have to think about the next steps.  Ensure you have the proper insurance coverage for your organization, or check with your insurance agent if you’re not sure.  In addition, research the community’s emergency plan, including evacuation routes and warning signals. This information can be used as you create an emergency plan for your own organization.  Lastly, look for potential hazards at your own facility. Be prepared to turn off all electrical power if there is standing water or fallen power lines, and secure structurally unstable building materials.  Prepare a list of items you’d need to take care of if a storm hit.

3. Prepare your building.

If a hurricane destroyed your building, whether by wind or water damage, what would you lose? Start backing up important information, data, leader contact information, building and equipment inventory, and store it at an off-site location.  In addition, take steps to minimize damage to the building, which includes covering windows with hurricane shutters, installing doors that can withstand a storm, clearing gutters from debris, checking the roof, and securing anything outside that could cause damage to the building.  Inside, ensure all valuable objects are secured and storm-proofed.

4. Be equipped to open your doors.

After a major storm, there most likely will be many displaced members of your community in need of temporary shelter.  If your organization might be called upon to provide that shelter, prepare your organization to be able to provide that service before the storm.  Stock it with an adequate amount of supplies, including items in this basic disaster supply list from Ready.gov.

5. Manage the storm.

Once the storm hits, you should always follow the advice of your local authorities.  They will advise you to either stay where you are and wait it out, or evacuate.  If you stay, do not go out into the storm until you have been cleared to do so.  If you evacuate, have pre-planned evacuation routes and maps prepared.  Stay informed by using a NOAA weather radio or tuning into a local station.

© 2019 The GuideOne Center for Risk Management, LLC. All rights reserved.This material is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to give specific legal or risk management advice, nor are any suggested checklists or action plans intended to include or address all possible risk management exposures or solutions. You are encouraged to retain your own expert consultants and legal advisors in order to develop a risk management plan specific to your own activities.