Hurricane Florence is strengthening and is expected to make landfall later this week. Florence has been deemed the most powerful storm to hit the Carolinas in three decades.
While most commercial and industrial facilities along the coast have been built to withstand the effects of hurricane-force winds, property managers can take additional steps to mitigate the damage and safety hazards that can occur during major storms like this one.
Know Your Risks
The trademarks of a hurricane are high wind, storm surges, torrential rain, and tornadoes. The FEMA Flood Map Service Center provides information to help determine the susceptibility of your property. During an approaching storm, stay tuned to local weather and important announcements regarding evacuations and road closures.
Review Your Disaster Response Plan
Although many commercial and industrial organizations have disaster response plans in place, now is a good time to conduct an audit of your emergency strategy.
- Review your insurance policy to ensure your business is adequately covered against major storm damage. Take photographs or videos of your premises from all angles. This will help substantiate insurance claims if necessary.
- Remind staff of hurricane-related policies and procedures, and inform managers of their specific roles and responsibilities in the event of an emergency.
- If you are a hotel or resort property, help guests prepare for evacuations. Make sure they understand the severity of a storm like Florence.
- Stock emergency supplies including generators, sandbags, hand tools, and other items your business would need during a prolonged power outage or flooding.
- Backup computer files to ensure critical data is secured.
As the Storm Approaches
Check your interior and exterior surroundings, and take appropriate safety measures.
- Bring in exterior displays and remove outdoor signs or pool/patio furniture that could become airborne during high winds. Board up glass doors and windows or tape an “X” over them to prevent shattering.
- If your property has a pool, do not empty or cover it. Turn off circuit breakers at the main electrical panel to prevent pump motors, lighting, chlorinators, and heaters from operating. After the equipment is shut off, wrap the pump motor, time clock, light transformers and electric heaters with a waterproof plastic membrane and tie it securely in place to prevent sand and water from entering. If flooding is expected, disconnect these devices and store them in a dry place. A ‘shock dose’ of granular or liquid chlorine added to your pool will help avoid contamination
- Disconnect all electrical devices except for refrigerators. Experts recommend turning off electricity (except for circuits running refrigeration) at the power supply box.
- Clear work surfaces of small items and remove loosely secured items hung on walls.
- Move equipment and furniture away from windows. Relocate critical files and equipment to interior rooms.
- Ensure that staff and guests are following evacuation protocol.
- Shut down non-critical building systems when all employees or guests have evacuated.
- Make sure key employees know the processes and procedures necessary before allowing people back in the building once the storm has passed.
After the Storm
A designated emergency response team should assess the property. Identify any structural damages or hazards. If necessary, contact your insurance company and make plans for repair.
CRM is Here to Help
CRM is a company whose name is synonymous with the construction, repair, and maintenance of hundreds of commercial properties throughout the US.
Our expertly-trained and fully-insured professionals can help you prepare for upcoming storms or assist in assessing damaging and making repairs following weather-related incidents or emergency situations.
CRM provides integrated maintenance programs and a full range of commercial services including comprehensive property repair, maintenance, construction, HVAC plumbing and electrical service, pool/spa maintenance, painting and pressure washing, carpet cleaning, water and fire damage restoration, landscaping, and interior design.
Call us toll-free today at 1-888-502-5203.