Hurricane Preparedness Tips
5 Days Before Storm Conditions
- Notify employees of the potential for severe weather and to be prepared for the emergency plan possibly to be implemented.
- Inspect the roof and grounds for loose debris, which may become a hazard in high winds. If staff or temporary help is available, begin removal of the debris, otherwise the removal may be done at the 72-hour interval.
- Provide a list of storm tips and needed supplies to help your employees prepare their homes and families.
- Ensure all employees have your business' designated emergency telephone numbers and key contact other information (i.e., employee emergency wallet card).
72 Hours Before Storm Conditions
- If not completed already, remove or secure all loose roof and ground items, including landscaping that may become wind-borne debris.
- Clear roof drains, gutters and downspouts of debris, to prevent water back-up
- Clean out all debris from outdoor perimeter drains, especially in areas where water may collect such as shipping and receiving areas where the ground slopes towards the building.
- Fill emergency generators with fuel and contact fuel suppliers with anticipated needs for post-storm deliveries.
- Ensure fire protection systems are in proper working order. Notify key customers, suppliers, and partners of office/facility closing and contingency plans.
- Make decisions on when to excuse employees so that they have sufficient time to prepare their homes and families, and notify employees of office closure details.
- Make any necessary alternative travel arrangements for employees away on business.
- Customize messages for business' website, telephone recording, employee intranet, etc.
- Instruct employees with laptops to take them home at the end of each day and confirm that they can connect to your business' server from home.
- Remind employees to make sure their cell phones are fully charged and that they have a power cord and car charger.
- Advise employees to begin checking your employee emergency hotline and/or company intranet/website for updates on the status of your office/facility.
48 - 24 Hours Before Storm Conditions
- Make sure all employees with calling responsibilities have the most updated version of the company telephone call list and have it in multiple formats (hard copy, electronically, etc.).
- For hurricanes and other high wind events, install window protection; if window protection is unavailable, close all window blinds, and cover office equipment with plastic sheets or tarps.
- Close and lock all office doors, especially perimeter offices. If you expect your building to be exposed to flooding or storm surge, seal all water entry points such as utility penetrations into the building and install flood protection including first-floor drain plugs.
- Conduct full/partial shutdown procedures. If volunteers are to remain onsite during the storm, make sure they can remain in a safe and secure area. If conditions permit, instruct them on how to monitor, document, and mitigate against leaks and water infiltration in critical areas with vital equipment.
- Advise employees to check the status of your office/facility at least twice per day.
- Disconnect all electrical equipment and unplug from power source.
- Place a "Closed" notice on office/facility main entrance.
During & Immediately After The Storm
- Update employee emergency hotline and/or company intranet and company website with postings on the status of your operations.
- Activate the company telephone call list process, in order to contact all employees regarding the status of your office/facility.
- Designate times for key staff members to call into conference calls for situation overviews.
- Designated personnel should return to the facility, assess conditions, document damages, and notify the emergency operations teams of their findings.
- When it is deemed safe, designated personnel should begin start-up procedures.
- When all safety and operational concerns are addressed and an "All Clear" is provided, employees can return to work.
- Take an overall inventory, including photos of all damaged property, and report damage and related expenses to your insurance company.
- Employees returning to the building should be instructed to examine their work area, test all office equipment and report findings back to the designated staff contact.
- Notify key customers, suppliers, and partners of office/facility re-opening and any necessary property or operational changes resulting from storm damage.