Are You Prepared for Hurricane Season?
Hurricanes Harvey and Irma wreaked havoc in coastal states. Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected, that they may swiftly recover and rebuild.
Harvey and Irma are stark reminders of what could happen when a powerful hurricane or tropical storm makes landfall.
Listed below are our guidelines to remind churches of what actions to take to prepare for hurricanes:
Before the storm
- Approved hurricane shutters or protection should be secured on all windows, doors, and openings to protect the building and contents.
- Verify that rooftop equipment is secure. Check to see that connections and fasteners holding equipment in place are not corroded. Consider adding strapping or bracing to reinforce rooftop equipment.
- Inspect your facility to identify and correct potential points of water intrusion.
- Review emergency power systems. Have enough fuel on hand to support the emergency power system for the anticipated duration of power interruption.
- Clear loose debris and potential flying objects from yards. Trim and cut back trees to reduce wind force obstruction.
- Anchor portable buildings or trailers to the ground.
- Gather enough supplies — such as plywood, tarpaulins, plastic sheeting, and roofing materials — to be able to make temporary repairs to prevent further damage.
- Find out if where you live is listed as a hurricane evacuation zone.
- Plan for shutdown of production equipment and systems that rely on power. Know how to turn off fuel gas services and non-essential electrical systems.
- Back up critical computer data and store it in a location that will not be affected by the hurricane.
- Identify and protect vital business records by moving them to a safe location.
- Elevate electronic equipment to at least four inches above the floor to reduce exposure to water damage. Cover computers and electronic equipment with plastic sheeting.
- Create or locate a contact list for facility personnel. Develop a communication system to notify staff when to return to the location. Have a back-up plan in place in case mobile phones and landlines are not working.
- Create an approved list of vendors for post-storm recovery. Contact them before the storm hits to ensure that they will be ready to assist you in the storm’s aftermath.
- Assemble an emergency kit.
- Inventory both the interior and exterior of the facilities by video recording or taking photographs.
- Check your insurance policies for sufficient coverage.
- Be prepared to evacuate in case officials order it.
During the storm
- Use a weather radio, watch television coverage, or check for weather updates on the internet frequently.
- If you are in the path of the storm, go to the lowest level and shelter in an interior room or closet away from glass.
- Remember that a calm period may be the eye of the storm, and that the winds and rain will shortly pick up again.
After the storm
- Do a thorough assessment of the safety and security of your facility and activities before allowing the assistance of volunteers during clean-up.
Weathering a hurricane is a harrowing experience. You may not be able to completely protect or preserve your facilities and possessions, but preparation lessens the impact a hurricane can have.