In the United States, hurricane season runs from June through November. The damage that often accompanies these events can be costly. The Office for Coastal Management, part of the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration, reports that from 1980 to 2020, U.S. hurricane weather disasters have caused damage totaling $945.9 billion, with an average cost of almost $21.5 billion per event.
While preventing these storms isn't possible, preparation is. Here's a quick list of supplies and equipment to help you plan and prepare for hurricane season, and protect your people and facilities as much as possible.
Supplies to Protect Your People
Your highest priority in storm preparation is taking care of your employees. Make sure your people are equipped with any personal protective gear they may need. Consider the list below to help prepare your people for a hurricane.
Communication between employees is essential as you prepare for a storm. Weather radios help teams monitor storm tracking and forecasts so that preparation can be done in a timely manner. They also provide alerts so employees can respond quickly if storm conditions worsen. Two-way radios enable instant wireless communication between employees and supervisors, helping to maximize productivity. Some models are water-resistant and some are battery-operated, which helps if storms cause power outages.
Part of your storm preparation may include clearing out storm drains and gutters, trimming trees and shrubs, and nailing plywood over windows and glass doors. Make sure your employees are all equipped with protective safety gear like safety glasses, face shields, safety gloves, and safety work boots and shoes before they need to perform these tasks. Wet conditions often attract annoying insects like mosquitoes. Insect repellent helps control these irritants.
Stock up on supplies that may be needed after the storm, such as flashlights and extra batteries for power outages. First-aid kits should be well-stocked and easy to locate. You may also want to store emergency water and food rations as part of your hurricane preparedness plan.
Supplies to Protect Your Facilities and Equipment
Here are some steps you can take to help protect essential facility equipment and supplies before a hurricane.
Store items prone to water damage as high off the floor as possible. Flood barrier systems protect buildings and property from rising floodwaters and can be put in place in advance of a storm. These systems are water-activated and are used to absorb, contain and divert floodwaters. Sandbags are also good flood barriers. Standard sandbags are filled with sand before use while sandless sandbags work similarly to flood barrier systems, containing absorbent material that expands when exposed to water.
Vehicle and Large Equipment Storage
If your business has a vehicle fleet or other large equipment, move it inside a garage or relocate them outside of the storm path if that’s an option. Do not park vehicles near potential flood zones, trees or power lines.
Hurricanes often lead to power outages. Fully charge phones, pagers, batteries for cordless tools and wireless radios before the storm arrives. Use fuel and gas cans to store gasoline, diesel and kerosene for the tools, generators and other large equipment you may need once the storm passes. Be sure to store all fuels safely.
For more tips on how to prepare your business for severe weather and other emergencies, review this collection of emergency preparedness guides.