Hurricane readiness is a must for people and businesses located in coastal areas.
Hurricane readiness plans are especially important if you live in a coastal area. It doesn’t matter the severity of the hurricane. Hurricane readiness plans and efforts should ready anytime a hurricane is predicted for your area. Be ready, have the basics packed and stored ahead of time.
What is a hurricane?
A hurricane is defined as a large low pressure storm, with an organized eye, accompanied by heavy rain and strong sustained winds. Most hurricane damage is from the winds and storm surges that occur in coastal regions. Inland areas can also be affected by extensive flooding from heavy rain.
When is hurricane season?
Hurricane season is between June 1st and November 30th. The most likely strikes on the eastern U.S. coast are mid-August and late October. As you can see, we are in the middle of the most likely time for a hurricane to strike on the east coast. At the time of posting there are 3 hurricanes in the Atlantic with the potential to come ashore. Is your hurricane readiness kit up to date?
What is the difference between a Hurricane Watch and a Hurricane Warning?
A possible hurricane strike is a watch. Directly in the strike path of a hurricane is a warning.
How are hurricanes rated and what do the ratings mean?
Hurricanes are rated by the ability to cause damage and are classified in 5 categories.
- A Category 1 hurricane has 74-95 miles per hour (mph) sustained winds and 4-5 foot storm surges. This category causes “minimal” damage.
- Category 2 hurricanes have 96-110 mph sustained winds with a 6-8 foot storm surge and moderate flooding and property damage.
- Categories 3, 4 and 5 are considered major hurricanes and leave the most destruction in their paths
- A Category 3 hurricane has winds of 111-130 mph and a 9-12 foot storm surge; causing extensive damage to some buildings and low-lying roads are cut off due to flooding.
- Category 4 hurricanes have sustained winds of 131-155 mph and storm surges of 13-18 feet. Expect extreme damage to all buildings in the area, including destroyed roofs, flooding and fallen debris.
- The last category is Category 5. This type of hurricane has sustained winds greater than 156 mph and storm surges of greater than 18 feet. This is considered a catastrophic storm and will cause catastrophic damage on contact.
What can I do to prepare for a hurricane?
Being prepared is a must during hurricane season.
- You need an emergency kit with the recommended supplies based on your family size and/or if you need to evacuate. Click here to see the Red Cross’s recommendations for an emergency survival kit.
- Use a backpack for emergency supplies in case of evacuation. It is easier to grab-and-go.
- Make an emergency plan and practice it with your family
- Be informed. Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) In Depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness is a good source for this type of information. This 200 page book includes how to prepare for hurricanes and most other weather and nature related disasters.
- Fill vehicle and generator tanks with fuel before the hurricane strikes because the pumps operate on electric and won’t work after the power goes out.
- Cover windows and other glass surfaces with plywood or hurricane shutters because wind will break the glass; causing injuries from both the glass or the items that became projectiles.
- Make sure all outdoor items that are not tied down are pulled back inside your home. This includes furniture, toolboxes etc. Secure all small outbuildings and sheds to the ground. They could become huge projectiles if the wind picks them up. Put sandbags against your doors to help keep the water from coming in under the door.
How can a business prepare for a hurricane?
Other than the obvious issues that are common to households also (watching the forecast, filling vehicle and generator tanks with fuel, boarding windows and sandbagging doors and securing all sheds and outbuildings), businesses also need to take precautions and make business survival plans well ahead of a hurricane.
The key is to have a working Emergency Plan in place ahead of time.
Your business should designate a team leader to facilitate a smooth progression of the Emergency Plan. Make sure he or she has all of the equipment necessary to fulfill their responsibilities.
Employees are one of a business’s major assets.
They can be invaluable in keeping the business running. Since employees are part of the day-to- day operations of your business they can be part of the preparedness team. When you know a hurricane is coming, know where your employees are in real-time. Is she working from home today or is he away on business or vacation? Make sure the employee contact list is current before the hurricane strikes. Give your key people the list.
Data is another integral part of your business.
Businesses need to make sure that all their data is backed up and stored off-site in a safe space. Cloud service backup is a good way to have your important data offsite but cloud services are only work as long as you can get to them via internet. Sometimes when cell towers and internet service providers sustain damage, the internet will not be available and neither would your data.
Make checklists with the necessary actions required when an incident happens.
Know where the business insurance policy is and who to contact should you need them. Have reliable vendors on standby and include how to contact them. Create a contact list for all vendors and insurance brokers. Don’t forget the policy number on the insurance info. Give copies of this list to every key person.
If it can’t be moved to another safe location, secure and cover all remaining equipment.
Post emergency evacuation routes
Post routes out of and around your building. When an emergency strikes, people sometimes panic and get confused or disoriented. Having a printed list to refer to can help everyone stay calm.
Take pictures documenting the damage
Pictures are a must before anyone cleans up after the storm. Documentation is key if there is a problem with the insurance claim. They act as proof of the damage if additional information is requested.
Whether you are a business or an individual being prepared for a hurricane is the best way to survive!