Hurricane season. Tips to weather the storm.
As September draws near, so also does peak hurricane season in the Atlantic. Here are some readiness tips, facts, and forecasts we’ve compiled to help you and your business weather the storm:
Hurricane Fact – NOAA’s initial forecast (published May 21, 2020) predicts a 60% chance of an “above-normal” season made up of between 13 and 19 named tropical storms. Of those storms, between 6 and 10 are likely to become hurricanes, and between 3 and 6 of those hurricanes could become major hurricanes (category 3, 4, or 5). Read NOAA’s forecast here.
Hurricane season lasts until November 30.
● Develop and distribute specific instructions for employees to follow for closing down operations, shutting down and protecting equipment, and evacuating the site. This plan should also cover procedures for regrouping after the event.
● If you are located in an evacuation area, familiarize yourself and your employees with evacuation routes. Identify safe places to take shelter until the danger passes.
● Follow National Weather Service watches, advisories, warnings, and outlooks. Information about these alerts is available here.
● Prepare a reference list with contact information for local hospitals, radio and tv stations, law enforcement offices, utility providers, fire and rescue squads, and your property insurance agent.
● Know where utility controls are located and how to shut them off if needed.
● Become familiar with the Food and Drug Administration’s guidelines for food and water safety in disaster zones. Such information is available here.
● Be aware of the possibility that your insurance company will issue a Suspension of Binding Authority. In such cases, individual agents cannot authorize new or expanded coverage.
Hurricane Fact – Forecasters anticipate that four to seven of the named storms they’ve predicted could become hurricanes and one could become a major system. A storm that has winds of 29 mph or more becomes a named storm. With winds at 111 mph or more, the storm becomes a major system.
● Prepare emergency kits with basic supplies to store in key locations. The National Hurricane Center recommends including a three-day supply of food and water (one gallon per person per day), flashlight, first aid kit, battery-operated radio, extra batteries, local maps, manual can opener, and a cell phone with charger and backup battery.
● Have all important documents, including your wood products insurance policy, available for quick reference and to take with you should you need to evacuate.
● Arrange for off-site backup of all important company files and data essential to business operations.
Hurricane Fact – The Insurance Information Institute in New York estimates $1.5 Trillion in reconstruction costs for homes damaged this hurricane season on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts.
● Lock windows and doors, removing any window air conditioning units.
● Unplug appliances and electronics.
● Anchor loose outdoor objects, including furniture and garbage cans.
● Check exterior drainage channels. Clear gutters and elevate any valuables in basements.
● If you have a generator, review safety guidelines for placement, usage, and fuel storage. Make sure that you have an ample supply of fuel to sustain business operations in the event of a power outage.
Hurricane Fact – The calm that follows a raging hurricane or tropical cyclone may signal the onset of tornadoes, or it may simply be the eye of the storm passing through.
● It may be tempting to return to your home or business as soon as the skies clear. However, it is important to wait until officials declare an area safe before venturing into it. Pauses in storm activity do not always signal that you are no longer in danger.
● When returning to an evacuated zone, follow broadcast advisories and proceed with caution.
● Don’t hesitate to contact your forest products insurance agent immediately following the storm if you anticipate filing claims for losses. The sooner you communicate your needs, the sooner your agent can help guide you toward post-event recovery.