Plumb Safety: Helping Customers Brace for Hurricane Season

NOAA predicted a “near-normal” 2019 hurricane season in their May outlook. However comforting that may sound, that still means the eastern seaboard may see between nine and 14 named storms — and as many as four of those could be major hurricanes. A hurricane preparedness plan may prove extremely useful for businesses on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts as this season begins to heat up. Here, we offer some helpful tips you can share with customers in need of a plan.

To prepare for a potential hurricane, there are several steps business owners can take, including:

  • Make sure the roof is well-maintained, as a strong roof can limit the scope of damages from severe storms. Management should have the roof regularly checked by contractors to make sure it is not damaged and that the roof drainage system is fully operational.
  • Ensure that any unsecured equipment attached to the exterior of the building, such as an HVAC unit or a satellite dish, is secured to reduce potential damages.
  • Consider installing shutters or impact-rated laminated window systems. These can help prevent shattered windows, which can contribute to wind-driven debris.
  • Securely close all doors, windows and other openings. To that end, seal any holes or cracks in walls before the storm, to limit the chance of water intrusion and damage.

In the aftermath of a hurricane, businesses will want to get back to normal and resume operations as soon as possible. Having a business continuity plan can reduce the time spent on recovery. Such a plan should lay out clear steps for initial recovery, including the following:

  • Immediately inspect the property. Search for damages and any unsafe areas and flag them promptly so that employees are aware.
  • Clear debris as soon as possible, removing any and all dangerous materials and collecting any salvageable items.
  • Complete short-term repairs that can easily be accomplished immediately. For more complicated processes, management should get in contact with their contractor.
  • In the event that damages are too severe to continue operations at a company’s main site, search for a temporary facility. In this case, business owners could also file for a business interruption insurance claim to cover the lost income and the costs of finding a new location.

With Hurricane Barry in July and a handful of storms yet to come, hurricane preparedness should be on the minds of all business owners in the country. Developing a safety plan and a business continuity plan will help ensure that damages are minimized and that company operations can return to normalcy in a timely fashion. 

Resource: Emergency Preparedness for Hurricane Season and Beyond

The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) offers many useful resources on hurricanes and emergency preparedness, which can be shared with customers. While it may not be possible to completely prepare an insured business for the dangers of a severe storm, gaining knowledge and planning can go a long way toward limiting damages. For more tips and recommendations about disaster safety and emergency planning, read “From Coast to Coast, and Everywhere in Between” a preparedness guide just for businesses.