Before the Event
If Broward County is under an evacuation order, all businesses located east of the Intracoastal Waterway must evacuate. Following are some important steps that should be taken by businesses, large and small, as part of hurricane preparedness planning.
- Make multiple backups of critical computer data and store them off premise. Keep checks, purchase orders, financial records, property and vehicle titles off premise as well.
- Make a complete inventory of you business and take pictures of your business/plant to aid in insurance or tax credit claims after the storm.
- Evaluate your short-term and long-term energy needs, and whether your company needs a generator. If so, stock fuel for it.
- Make sure employee emergency contact information is up to date, and that you have an employee communication plan in place, which includes a designated out of town phone number where employees can leave an "I'm okay" message in a disaster.
- Create a clear-cut hurricane policy for employees and post it in advance.
- Review your insurance coverage to make sure you understand what is not covered. Most policies don’t cover flood damage.
- The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) provides coverage to property owners. Go to the NFIP Website at floodsmart.gov.
- Consider business interruption insurance. It covers operating expenses, like utilities, and compensates you for the income lost after a temporary closure.
As the Event Approaches
- Fill the fuel tanks of company vehicles.
- Move important documents away from windows. Store documents that are on the ground level off the floor, in the event of flooding from increased tidal action or excessive rainfall.
- Unplug and wrap all electronics, including computers, in large plastic bags to protect against water damage. Store them off the floor, in locations that are high and dry.
- Cover all glass windows and doors on at least the first floor of the building with shutters, paneling or other protective material, such as plywood or masonite.
- Secure first floor doorways against flood waters with sandbags or heavy plastic sheeting and duct tape.
- Disconnect all electrical appliances and equipment such as typewriters, copiers, coffee makers, electric clocks, calculators, etc. so they do not create excessive surge when electric power is restored.
- Protect all vent hoods, exhaust louvers, etc. from wind and rain.
- Service and test the building's emergency power generator under load to make sure it is operating.
- Check out all equipment, utilities, fire equipment and first aid materials. Repair and replace faulty items as necessary.
- Check drains on the roof of the building to ensure they are clear and able to drain off the heavy rain which usually accompanies a hurricane. Clogged roof drains could cause the roof to collapse from weight of accumulated water, or cause damage to the interior of the building if water on the roof becomes deep enough to cover vent pipes and run down inside the building.
- Secure or bring inside any potted plants or other decorative objectives which could be blown about by hurricane force winds.
- Check yard for materials that might be blown around. Secure items that cannot be brought inside.
- Dumpsters (and large trash containers) can be secured by lashing two or more together with rope or chains and chocking the wheels. They might also be secured to a tree or telephone pole, if available.
- Relocate empty railroad cars, if possible.
- Prepare a portable hurricane kit that you can take with you once you've secured your business. This could include copies of essential documents such as site maps, building plans, and insurance policies; a battery-powered radio; batteries; a hardline telephone; a laptop; camera; and anything else essential to keeping your business running.
- Advise local law enforcement if the business will be empty of people or if security guards will be on site. If guards are to remain on site, make provisions for their safety, including adequate shelter, communications, food and water.
- Allow your employees adequate time to secure their homes and make personal preparations.
- Shut down all incoming power, electric, gas and water lines.
Updated April 2015