The 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season has roared to life with Hurricane Florence on track to make landfall in the Carolinas later this week. If you’re in its path and haven’t already taken prep steps, it’s time to get busy. Here are a few ideas and resources to guide your efforts for this and any subsequent storm:
Track the forecasts – You’ll need the latest information to know when to act. Improved forecasting technology makes following storm movements and anticipated track easy. The National Weather Service and The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Hurricane Center should be your primary resources. As of early morning on Monday, September 10, 2018, the track and timing of Hurricane Florence, according to the National Hurricane Center is for landfall in the Carolinas by Friday. Please note, that although the Hurricane will not make landfall until early Friday, Tropical Storm winds could start reaching the coast as early as Wednesday evening.
Prepare for wind AND water – Wind speeds get the headlines, but a hurricane’s soaking rains, tidal storm surges and flooding do as much – if not more – damage. Florence is currently forecast to bring major – and perhaps record-breaking – amounts of rainfall along its track and as it pushes inland.
Plan for people and property – Storms arrive in their own time. If it’s during the workday, do your people know what to do?
So what should you be doing before the storm? Here are some of the basics that should be on that plan:
Review your structures - Are gutters and other water runoff management systems debris free? Are materials like plywood on hand to use as glazing protection against high winds and blowing debris? Are roofs in good shape and up-to-date on maintenance? Is equipment on roofs well braced and covered? Are sand bags and pumps and other flood prevention and management equipment ready to go?
Check your grounds – Are mobile equipment, signage and other lightweight fixtures either well anchored or moved out of harm’s way? How about sheds and other small outbuildings – anchored and secure? Does past flooding show pre-deployment of sandbags or other flood barriers would be beneficial? Can you relocate any critical or valuable assets to higher ground in case of flooding?
Protect your operations –Make sure data back-ups are up to date and in a safe off-site location. Are emergency generators fueled up and in good working order? Fire protection systems, too? Have non-vital systems and potential hazards such as electrical or natural gas supplies been safely shut down? Do you have your emergency contact numbers for critical vendors?
Prepare your people – Do you know who your essential personnel for storm preparation and recovery are? Do they know? Are roles and responsibilities spelled out – from business operations preparation to facilities and grounds? Are your employee contact lists up to date? Are appropriate emergency supplies on hand and their locations known? Has a preferred emergency evacuation route been mapped and communicated?
Check your policy – As stated above, hurricane season has been relatively quiet for a few years. Have you taken a close look at what you’re covered for, and not? Connect with us, we’re happy to do an expedited review to make sure you’re prepared.
Looking for more prep information? The occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has some good guidance and resources here. There’s a nice business prep check list here and from the Small Business Administration (SBA) that includes flood prep here.