Hurricanes have shown us their devastating power and
the costly destruction they can deliver.The Insurance
Information Institute reports that hurricanes account for
seven of the 10 costliest catastrophes in U.S.history.
Hurricanes can cause severe flooding and extensive
damage from heavy rainfall,storm surge and sustained
winds.A storm surge occurs just before a hurricane touches land when the low pressure of the hurricane eye draws in the surface of the ocean.This effect creates a wall of water up to 20 feet higher than the normal high tide that can extend 50 to 100 miles.
Hurricanes may spawn tornadoes that can also cause extensive damage.
Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30.Don’t get caught off guard. Advances in technology and weather tracking have made it easier to detect these storms before they make landfall.Proper preparation and action steps can help reduce damage and potential loss of life dramatically.
Hurricane Katrina,August 28, 2005; Photo courtesy of NOAA
Steps to take before hurricane season:
• Establish or review an Emergency Action Plan that considers prevention,emergency response,
evacuation criterion,disaster recovery and key personnel.
• Designate an Emergency Coordinator and Emergency Action Team.Schedule meetings and drills
to ensure members know their roles and responsibilities.
• Review your Emergency Action Plan with the local authorities and know your community safety
• Confirm that you can receive the local NOAA radio frequency.The National Weather Service uses
NOAA Weather Radio to deliver critical information and storm updates.
• Detail communication procedures for staff,vendors and clients.Maintain a current list of key
contacts with telephone numbers and addresses.Keep a copy accessible offsite.
• Ensure provisions for alternate remote data transmissions.
• Provide cellular or satellite phones to essential personnel.
• Review your insurance policies to determine if you have adequate flood and wind insurance.
• Inspect roofs and flashing to ensure they are properly secure.
• Trim trees and shrubbery with safety in mind.Avoid electrical lines and excessive heights.
• Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.Check drain pumps.
• Secure or brace outside storage tanks,sheds and other structures.
• Maintain a supply of plastic or tarpaulin to cover water-sensitive equipment.
• Buy plywood (min.1/2 inch) or shutters to protect doors and windows.
• Ensure proper working condition for emergency equipment,such as flashlights and battery-
powered radios,drills and saws.
• Stock non-perishable food,first-aid supplies and drinking water.
• Purchase N-95,NIOSH-approved disposable respirators for working with moldy or damp
• Create an emergency evacuation kit for employees and their families including:first-aid,baby food and diapers,cards,games,books,toiletries,
battery-powered radio,flashlights,extra batteries,blankets or sleeping bags,identification and valuable papers.