When the National Weather Service (NWS) and state officials start warning Florida residents of a hurricane’s impending arrival, you should take the threat seriously. How much time you get to prepare and evacuate can vary depending on the circumstances, but the really serious threats are usually announced days in advance.
The steps you take to prepare will likely be dictated by the forewarning you have and the severity of the storm. Every storm, even tropical storms, should be taken seriously by homeowners and business owners. There are always steps you should take to minimize property damage
You have a few different options for protecting your business or home’s windows, doors and vents when a hurricane is on the way. Removable metal storm windows may be the easiest and most efficient option, but polycarbonate and, the most popular, plywood, are good options as well.
Lowe’s put together a great installation video you can follow to install plywood over your windows and doors. If your windows do allow for the use of tension clips, they’re a good way to secure plywood without needing to drill into your home.
It’s important to remember that sandbags aren’t always the best means of stopping water, especially if you only have enough to cover your doors. If your sandbag supply is limited, you should use them to anchor plastic and line them across the bottom of your doors to provide a water-proof seal. If you have enough sandbags and the space and time to do it, you can surround your whole home. If you take that approach, sandbags should be in a pyramid-like wall where the base is three times the width of the wall’s height.
Power surges have the potential to wreak havoc on appliances and can cause costly damage. These surges can also burn out computer power supplies or damage other key components. You can prevent surge damage by installing a surge protector on your electrical box, using power strips with built-in surge protectors and even installing protection on your HVAC system.
Electrical surges aren’t the only danger hurricanes pose to computers and other devices. There are several aspects of hurricanes that could wreck your electronics, so make sure to back up any photos, documents or other data you will need or don’t want to lose.
This step is especially important for businesses that have digital records. Hopefully you have a cloud backup system already, but if you don’t you should set something up before a hurricane hits to ensure all your important company data is secured offsite.
Consider installing strong ties on your rafters to reinforce your roof. Half of the metal plate is nailed to the wall stud and the other half to the roof joist. These should be installed on every joist of the house to provide an extra layer of strength for holding your roof on to your home’s walls.
Not every home or businesses has a sump pump, but checking to make sure it’s functioning properly is a must if you do have one installed. Sump pumps are generally connected to the building’s power, but there may be battery backup options that will allow it to function even when the power goes out.
If you have enough forewarning to do so, make sure your gutters and drains are clean before the storm begins. Clogged downspouts or gutters can prevent your home from properly draining and may contribute to flooding in your home’s attic or basement. This should be a serious concern for businesses with flat roofs where a significant volume of water could pool and potentially lead to roof collapse.
CBS News published some very ingenious hurricane preparation ideas back in 2017 when Hurricane Irma was on the way. Some of these clever ideas may help you one day:
Post-2017 analysis of the damage caused by Hurricane Irma, Maria and Harvey, as well as the wildfires that raged that year, exposed some serious gaps in business disaster preparedness. For many businesses, the loss of revenue was greater than the property damage losses.
Approximately 65 percent of businesses cited power loss or utility disruption as the source of their damage, but only about 17 percent of those businesses had business disruption insurance to compensate them for the lost revenue due to the downtime.
Many of those businesses had to apply for financing to cover the lost revenue and cover repairs. Approximately 66 percent of those businesses received less than they requested.
Before a hurricane ever hits, make sure you understand your business recovery loan options so you can be prepared if you do need financing to stay afloat or rebuild.