7 Facility Tips for Hurricane Preparedness & Severe Weather

Posted on: June 01, 2021

Since June 1 marks the official start of hurricane season, it’s the perfect time to review your facility’s hurricane preparedness and severe weather plan. Hurricane season officially begins in June and lasts through the end of November, but summer storms can also pose a threat you’ll want to prepare for.

While your facility may be less likely to experience more direct effects of tropical storms or hurricanes (like storm surge), any facility, large or small, should be prepared for temporary power loss due to high winds, heavy rain, or other causes.

Here are 7 practical tips to help you develop your severe weather plan ahead of the storm.

1. Create and Review Your Emergency Plan

Always review your facility’s emergency plan to ensure it includes all processes and documentation required to keep employees and patrons safe.

An emergency plan may include things like:

Evacuation plan

Your evacuation plan may include procedural information like designated evacuation routes away from buildings, assembly points, and even procedures for assisting individuals with disabilities or special needs. It’s a good idea to be aware of hurricane evacuation routes and how traffic flowing from these highways may impact your workplace and surrounding areas.

Emergency contacts

In addition to 9-11, have an updated list of essential emergency contacts, including local emergency services (police, fire, ambulance), utility companies, building management, key personnel, and relevant external agencies or authorities that may be needed. Having a designated 9-11 caller and CPR-certified personnel on staff can also be helpful.

Location of safety and supply equipment

Identify and review the location of emergency equipment and supplies like fire extinguishers, first aid kits, emergency lighting, generators, and personal protective equipment (PPE). Ensure that these items are regularly inspected, maintained, and easily accessible.

Communication protocols

Should a severe weather event occur, clearly defined emergency communication plans and protocols should be in place. Designating an emergency communication coordinator is a good initial step. This individual can manage all communication channels to use in an emergency, ranging from phone, radio, internet, or satellite communications.

Plan to test your emergency response system throughout the year to ensure that employee devices or facility-wide communications systems operate properly.

Training and drills

While documentation is one thing, scheduling regular training sessions and emergency drills is a good idea to familiarize occupants with emergency procedures and ensure readiness. You can also document drill results and incorporate lessons learned into the emergency plan.

Building shutdown and shelter-in-place

Facilities managers and engineers should also be ready to safely shut down building systems and utilities in emergencies, such as power outages, gas leaks, or water main breaks. Include protocols for isolating hazardous materials and securing critical infrastructure.

2. Proactively Test and Maintain Generators and Backup Power Equipment

As part of your facility’s maintenance plan, you should always schedule routine preventive maintenance on commercial or industrial generators. If you need help developing a maintenance plan that works for your facility (small or large), contact the Carolina Cat Power Systems Team today.

Our backup power experts will help you create a plan to upgrade or maintain your facility’s backup generators and provide guidance on portable power and temperature control solutions you may need during power outages.

3. Make an Emergency Supply Kit

Since critical supplies could be in short supply, be sure you review your first aid kits and any essential medications, water, food, batteries, or flashlights you may need at your facility during unexpected outages.

While you’re at it, review your plan for backup fuel that may be needed to keep generators running.

4. Know your Evacuation Routes Rally Points

Always conduct routine safety briefings for your facility, including covering evacuation routes for your building or complex. This could include defining designated shelter options throughout your facility during tornadoes or other weather events.

5. Post Emergency Information Throughout Your Facility

If you have a safety officer, ensure employees and patrons understand critical emergency information, including:

  • Fire extinguisher locations
  • First aid locations
  • AED locations
  • Rally point locations
  • Storm shelters
  • Cardiac emergency response plans

A simple flyer outlining this information can be extremely helpful for new employees unfamiliar with the building. In addition to signage, obviously follow any OSHA or local regulations related to AEDs, fire extinguishers, and other emergency equipment and protocols.

6. Review Your Facility’s Insurance Policy

It’s always a good idea to verify your active insurance coverages in the event of structural damage caused by hurricane-force winds or flood water. Prior to storm season, be aware of any exclusions and limitations of your insurance policies and plan accordingly.

At the beginning of the summer storm season, review any interruption coverage, deductibles, or contact information listed on the policy and ensure this information is up to date.

7. Follow Guidance from Emergency and Government Officials

While easy to overlook, have a plan to monitor weather forecasts and advisories from news outlets. Especially during emergencies when communication systems may be down, you’ll want to have a way to listen to evacuation orders or shelter-in-place directives as they are issued.

Contact Carolina Cat Power Systems to Create Your Storm Plan

Severe weather can be unexpected and chaotic, but having the right plan, products, and procedures in place can help you weather the storm. As a best practice, always adhere to federal, state, and local safety requirements to ensure your facility stays in compliance.

Carolina Cat is here to support you when you need it most for anything related to power generation. Check out our storm plan resources and templates, including our emergency power generation, temperature control, and air compressor checklists.

Download Your Free Storm Plan Checklist

Prepare your facility for storm season using our free checklist.

Should disaster strike, we provide various backup power options, from on-site power solutions to portable rental units.

Give us a call at 800.277.6010 or contact us online for a free consultation, and let’s create a backup power plan customized to fit your needs. We service many large and small government, healthcare, and industrial facilities in the area and would be happy to work with your team to ensure you have what you need.