Hurricane Series: Disaster recovery
After a hurricane affects your facility, you will need a plan of action for how to move forward. Church Mutual recommends you use the following information to help you communicate with your people, assess the damage and begin the clean-up process.
Before a hurricane hits, develop a comprehensive communication plan that includes emergency management services. Consider using many different avenues for communication, including:
- Phone trees.
- An informative outgoing message on your voicemail.
- Your website.
- Social media.
- Mass notification systems.
Returning to your facility and assessing damage
It’s crucial to determine which of your people should be the first to return to your building. For everyone’s safety, no one should enter the disaster zone alone. Consider those who might be closest to your property and would be physically able to assess the damage. Establish a means for members of this team to communicate with each other.
When returning to your building, remember to:
- Bring personal protective equipment, including gloves, eye protection, masks, respirators and sturdy footwear.
- Verify your building is structurally sound by looking for color-coded tags from emergency officials, or for signs of serious damage to the roof, exterior walls or foundation. Do not enter the building if there are indications of structural damage, electrical lines are down, or you observe the smell of natural gas.
- Document the damage by taking photographs, videos and notes. Contact your insurance carrier as soon as possible and share your documentation with them.
- Remain mindful of hazards inside your building that may cause you to trip and fall, as well as mold growth and toxins that may be harmful to your health.
- Secure your building. Do what you can to make temporary repairs, possibly working with a licensed and insured contractor. If the building is flooded, remove as much of the water as you can so your building can begin drying. If your building’s windows or doors are damaged, use plywood to close off the entry points.
As you plan the clean-up process, you likely will have to solicit the help of volunteers. Discover best practices in organizing your volunteers by reviewing Church Mutual’s advice on Volunteer Safety and Management.
The following are a few important reminders:
- Require all volunteers to sign a release form.
- Have a well-stocked first aid kit on hand.
- Remove all drywall and insulation that has been in contact with flood waters.
- Shut off electricity at the main breaker to the building, even when the power is out.
As you develop your hurricane recovery plan, Church Mutual is here to help. If you have questions or need help getting started, contact Risk Control Central for a no-cost consultation.
Read more about hurricane safety, preparedness and recovery:
- Hurricane safety.
- Hurricane Series: Could your facility be a shelter?
- Hurricane Series: Conduct a hurricane tabletop exercise.
- Hurricane Series: Last-minute preparation.
What is your organization doing to prepare for severe weather?
See how you can prepare and protect your organization from nature’s destructive forces by viewing our 10 Essentials of Severe Weather Preparedness. Then take action and step up your severe weather and natural disaster preparedness efforts by utilizing our Severe Weather Preparedness Assessment, Hurricane Tabletop Exercise and Hurricane Exercise Evaluation.
For more severe weather information and resources, visit churchmutual.com/weather.