By: Thomas H. Yeager
Listed below are items that should be considered by commercial nurseries preparing for hurricanes. The items are not listed in any particular order and are not intended to be exclusive.
General Considerations More than 6 Months Pre-Hurricane
Construct buildings according to codes and regulations for hurricane wind loads. This is particularly important for chemical and fertilizer storage facilities.
- Schedule maintenance for equipment used during hurricanes, such as adding stabilizers to generator fuel.
- Develop an emergency contact list and keep numbers current. Some possible contacts might include: employees, insurance companies, hospitals, pharmacies, counselors and clergy, USDA Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Federal Emergency Management Agency, County Emergency Management Agency, university extension offices, power companies, plumbers, electricians, equipment dealers, trucking companies, allied supply companies, landfills, chemical spill companies, portable toilet companies, other nurseries, and suppliers of young plants.
- Stow valuable papers in a dry place. This would include papers such as: insurance policy, payroll, plant, pesticide and equipment inventory; photographs of nursery including buildings, equipment, and vehicles; and computer disks of valuable information.
- Obtain crop insurance. Federal loan assistance will not be available unless you have crop insurance.
- Develop a written plan of pre-and post-hurricane responsibilities and job descriptions for personnel. Include in the plan procedures for irrigation without electrical power, ventilating or covering greenhouses, and clean-up including prioritized list of most valuable plants or procedure for deciding which plants are important to save. The plan also includes where items such as generators are stowed that will be needed post-hurricane as well as where items such as computers are stowed during the hurricane.
- Conduct safety and first aid training.
- Evaluate effectiveness of past plans and determine pre- and post-hurricane preparedness changes needed for the future.
General Considerations 2-6 Months Pre-Hurricane
- Perform general repairs of buildings to secure loose components.
- Clean ditches and grade areas for drainage.
- Prune permanent trees to reduce wind resistance.
- Obtain items such as: weather radios, plumbing supplies, batteries, tools, lumber, nails, tarps, ropes, shade cloth, greenhouse parts and covers, fuel storage with hand pump, substrate components, portable lights, and batteries.
- Provide for portable water storage.
- Tie down portable buildings.
- Determine capacity, phase, portability, and quantity of electrical generators needed and provide for rapid connection with disconnect to main power.
- Obtain first aid supplies.
General Considerations 1-2 Days Pre-Hurricane
- Irrigate plants and remove water from reservoirs.
- Remove plants from benches.
- Obtain cash because electronic fund transfers will not be possible after a hurricane.
- Fill fuel tanks and fill sprayers with water.
- Fill portable water containers.
- Print out payroll, plant inventory, fertilizer, and pesticide inventory.
- Charge batteries.
General Considerations Within 1 Day Pre-Hurricane
- Secure items such as small portable trailers, substrate mixing equipment, and position portable generators.
- Dismantle irrigation risers; remove greenhouse plastic and shade cloth.
- Lay large plants down, especially plants likely to break and very valuable plants, with container toward wind. This is particularly important for pot-in-pot plants.
- Place most valuable plants in protected place such as box trailer. Park box trailers side by side to resist turning over.
- Secure windows, doors, and greenhouse vents.
- Place tractors in fields.
- Stow computers.
- Turn off natural and propane gas, water, and electricity.