If your facility is in an area where hurricanes occur, it is essential to take necessary steps to ensure that employees are prepared and that a building can withstand the weather elements.
Preparing for a storm can make a major difference in safety and keeping your facility operational after the hurricane has passed. Communication is key; hold discussions and drills to explain workplace plans and policies to become better prepared in the event of an emergency.
- Share the potential impact of hurricanes—Hurricanes bring high winds and flooding or storm surge, so you need to protect yourself from both the wind and the water.
- Know the National Weather Service (NWS) terms that are used to describe changing weather conditions. These terms—advisories, watches, and warnings— can be used to determine the timeline and severity of an approaching storm.
- Emphasize the importance of being prepared to evacuate
It is essential to have all necessary safety equipment on hand in the event of an emergency. If your facility needs to obtain emergency information, alerts and updates, battery operated radios and spare batteries will become extremely crucial. In the event of a power outage, make sure your facility has enough flashlights and other battery powered lights present. To prepare the facility, you will need certain materials like exterior grade plywood for doors and windows, waterproof tape to slow down water from leaking into window seams, tie-down materials, heavy duty tarps, and Flood Avert or sand bags to protect entryways from water entry. Each facility is different, know ahead of time what equipment and supplies will help protect your building.
Best Plumbing has you covered in the event of an emergency, click here to see all our hurricane preparedness items.
In order to prepare your building for when a storm hits, here are some things that should be done ahead of time for the safety of your occupants and facility.
- Test all emergency generators
- Assemble portable generators and portable pumps
- Board windows to protect against wind and debris
- Have sandbags on location and place them where needed
- Remove or secure loose items on roofs
- Disconnect and move equipment indoors or to higher ground
- Anchor and brace any large equipment that can cause potential damage
- Inspect trees on property and remove any hazardous limbs
- Unplug and store electric cords
- Turn off electricity, gas, water and other utility services
When a Hurricane Watch is Issued
A hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions are possible but not imminent. If this occurs, monitor local weather reports to determine the direction of the storm and any advisory or mandatory evacuation orders. Keep in mind the extended time needed to prepare your facility, if a watch is issued, you should begin implementing precautionary measures.
When a Hurricane Warning is Issued
A hurricane warning is issued by the National Weather Service when a hurricane is expected to make landfall within 24 hours. In general, all facilities will have to be evacuated promptly in hurricane warning zones. If a warning is issued, precautionary and protective measures need to be taken.
Hurricane season can be stressful for any facilities maintenance team, but planning will put you in control of the situation. The best practice for hurricane season is preventative maintenance. Follow your hurricane safety plan, communicate, and take all the necessary precaution measures for your facility. Hurricanes can’t be prevented but preparing now will protect your occupants and your building in the event of an emergency.
To learn what to do after a hurricane, read our Post-Hurricane Safety Precautions article.