Hurricane Series: Last-minute preparation
It’s official: You know a hurricane is headed your way. You have performed all the steps necessary to keep your people safe. But are there last-minute actions you can take to minimize the damage to your building?
Here, Church Mutual offers suggestions for what you can do after your local municipality issues a hurricane watch:
- Create an inventory of your facility. If your facility becomes flooded or damaged because of high winds, you will need to make an insurance claim. It is difficult to make a claim, however, when you aren’t sure what you lost. Remember to take pictures and videos and store copies of those off-site.
- Put your continuity plan into action. Now is the time to put all your preparations to use. If there are employees, volunteers or members in your facility, send them home. Make sure you have contact information for everyone in your organization. Ensure your leadership team knows who is responsible for securing your facility and assessing damage after the threat has passed.
- Install hurricane shutters. Your shutters serve as the first line of defense against heavy winds and flying debris, protecting your windows and doors and, by extension, everything inside your facility. Use metal or polycarbonate plastic shutters — not plywood.
- Remove branches and limbs. If there is time, consider hiring a professional to trim any tree branches overhanging the building and any dead limbs or branches that may cause damage during the storm.
- Secure outdoor items. Move any outdoor items such as chairs, portable tables, equipment and materials to a secure location so they do not become airborne during the hurricane and cause damage to the building.
- Check your drainage system one last time. When there is a hurricane coming, you know your building’s drainage system will get a workout. Make sure there is no debris plugging up gutters or downspouts.
- Close any garage doors, rollups or overhead doors all the way. Even a crack could be enough to allow water to enter a building. You also want to make sure you don’t give the high winds any leverage.
- Move furniture and valuables off the floor and, if possible, to higher floors of your building. Anything that is close to the ground runs the risk of water damage.
- Unplug small appliances, such as printers and toasters. Hurricanes can cause power surges, and anything that is plugged in runs the risk of becoming damaged.
- Fill plastic bottles with clean water for drinking. Depending on the hurricane’s severity, you may lose access to water utilities. Make sure you have enough water for several days.
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: Disaster recovery.
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.