Preparing your business for the storm

If your business is in the projected path of a hurricane, you need to act quickly to protect your people and your property.

Steps you take now can go a long way toward keeping people safe and minimizing damage:

  • Be sure that employee contact lists are up to date
  • Secure all doors and board up windows to protect against flying debris
  • Clean out floor drains and catch basins and check drainage pumps
  • Anchor and fill above-ground tanks with water or product to keep them in place during the storm
  • Fill the fuel tanks on your emergency generator and fire pumps. Make sure automobiles have full fuel tanks, as well
  • Check to see that your fire protection equipment is working
  • Make sure your important records are protected - or duplicate them and move them offsite to a safe area
  • Shut off lines carrying gas or flammable liquids in case a pipe breaks in the storm
  • Shut down production processes safely and turn off the electricity at the main power source
  • Evacuate employees

And do not forget to tie down - or move inside - any items outside your building that could blow away in a powerful windstorm. Benches, chairs, plant urns, signs or potted flowers could become flying debris and cause substantial damage.

An action plan for hurricane recovery

Once the winds have died down utilize your employee call list to make sure they and their families are safe and secure. Assemble a recovery team to begin getting your business back on its feet.

Who should be on your recovery team? Include people qualified to repair electrical, mechanical, plumbing and fire protection systems, as well as general maintenance people for cleanup. The team leader should make sure the team has cleanup supplies and any necessary replacement parts and equipment.

The team leader should assess the damage and develop an action plan that addresses priorities such as:

  • Safety hazards, including downed power lines, exposed electrical wires, leaking gas, etc.
  • Structural damage to buildings or damaged foundations
  • Impaired fire protection equipment and alarms
  • Critical production equipment and valuable stock required to restore production
  • Completion of temporary repairs so people can access the building safely

Here is what your recovery team should do:

  • Require strict precautionary measures for any cutting or welding
  • Eliminate any unnecessary ignition sources and enforce “No Smoking” regulations
  • Establish a procedure for removing storm- or reconstruction-related debris
  • Temporarily repair any holes or damage to building walls
  • Assess and prioritize damaged contents to see what can be salvaged
  • Photograph and/or videotape any damage

In addition, your team will need to assess and repair fire protection equipment, security alarms and sprinkler systems and notify the fire department if any of those systems will be out of service.

Be extra careful during electrical restoration, and make sure an electrician has checked and dried all systems and equipment before energizing electrical circuits. Take care around damaged power cables.

All mechanical equipment and systems should be checked for leaks or damage and cleaned and dried, as needed. Any wet insulation should be stripped and restored. Be sure to test your water supply for possible contamination, as well.

Maintain adequate security by performing a continual fire watch until normal operations can resume. Provide your employees with portable radios or cell phones and instruct them how to contact emergency response units.

Finally, keep your employees informed about any unsafe conditions and keep them updated on the progress of salvage operations.

2015 Travelers Business Risk Index

2015 Travelers Business Risk Index

Which risks most concern U.S. businesses? Find out what made the list.

View the report >

How should you respond after a hurricane?

Follow these hurricane recovery tips >

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