Hurricane Preparedness: Is It Worth It?

Hurricane Preparedness: Is It Worth It?

June 29, 2018.

Hurricane Season

The start of hurricane season is here again and it is predicted that America’s 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season will be the most destructive ever.  According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), weather experts predict the possibility of 35% more hurricanes this year than in the “average” hurricane season.  Hurricanes can cause severe wind damage, loss of power, extreme flooding, loss of business and personal property to residents and businesses due to heavy rain and severe winds. It takes only one storm to devastate an entire community, therefore everybody needs to be prepared to face the most dangerous storms that Mother Nature creates.

Businesses that are in hurricane/flood related areas often wonder if they are receiving the benefits of their investment in preparedness methods.  FM Global, a global commercial and industrial property insurer, recently conducted an analysis where they reviewed thousands of client’s wind and flood loss and mitigation information from around the world.  The study yielded that for every $1 a business spends on hurricane protection reduces loss exposure by an average of $105.  

This just proves that all businesses should consider any proactive cost-effective prevention methods as the repercussions of a major storm can cause considerable decreases in the market share, value, and reputation.


Actions to Take into Consideration

While hurricanes can be anticipated, which allows business owners, and all levels of the public and private sector to plan, prepare, and secure buildings and property, it is not always possible to fully plan for disasters as many times hurricanes and storms can change in size, strength, or course and/or strike areas that were not originally in its path. If last season’s hurricanes showed us anything, it is to prepare earlier rather than later and expect the unexpected. Precautionary measures help everybody, so we aren’t starting our preparations in the midst of chaos when warnings are issued, supplies are not available and evacuation orders have been given.

  • If your property is in an area where hurricanes frequent, ensure your business has adequate and proper insurance (state windstorm and flood insurance) to cover any damage that may arise from these destructive storms.  Review your insurance policies to determine what is covered in the event of a loss as a result of a hurricane. Keep all information secure such as insurance policies, the number to your agent or broker, or a claim reporting number.
  • Periodic review of your business continuity plan can also help eliminate or lessen threats or vulnerabilities to your business in the event of a disaster.
  • Have an evacuation and transportation plan.  Ensure all vehicles have a full tank of gas at the first sign of potentially a catastrophic situation.
  • If your business is exposed to flood risk, develop a flood emergency response plan.  According to FM Global, businesses with flood emergency response plans have nearly 70 percent less damage and resume operations sooner than those with no plan or an inadequate one.
  • You should annually inventory and video/photograph your property, both structural and personal as well as valuables and store this information on a thumb drive as well as backed up somewhere else. Important documents (a copy of health records, identifications, and insurance policies) should also be photographed with the originals stored in a waterproof container or bag to be taken in the event of an evacuation.
  • Check and update emergency kits annually with basic items and supplies.
  • Keep trees and bushes trimmed. Take down dying or dead trees to help minimize the effects of costly wind damage. Have generators ready for backup power.
  • In the event of a storm, properly secure your property to protect it from storm damage as much as possible to include boarding up windows if you don’t have storm shutters. If time permits, place sandbags across all openings of the structure.  Move any not secured property inside or lockdown as they can be blown away and become projectiles that can cause serious injury as well as property damage.  Hurricanes, tend to bring heavy rain, which causes flooding and in some areas, potential mudslides.
  • As soon as possible, implement property protection, secure the area, and suspend all work, and evacuate for safety. Many people tend to wait to see what will happen, and by then it’s too late.
  • After a storm has passed, assess the damage, be aware of down power lines, exposed electrical panels, or any unstable structures and safely secure your area against theft.  Prepare a damage list of structural property and call your insurance carrier.

Stay up to date on emergency communications, alerts, and news in your local area. Public agencies have weather apps and news alerts you set up on your Smartphone or device to notify you as the storm unfolds.  Don’t let this hurricane season or weather-related disasters catch you off guard. Storm damage can be costly.