Hurricane Preparedness for Commercial Buildings

The workplace is the strength of any community. It provides a wide variety of specialized services to its clientele and an economic base for its employees. The commercial sector should prepare to protect its property against the hazards generated by a hurricane.

Planning

  • Review property insurance with the company’s insurance agent concerning the hazards of a hurricane.
  • Determine and establish written hurricane protective procedures for the business property and its contents.
  • Inform key employees or essential staff of their specific responsibilities under the established hurricane procedures.
  • If appropriate, establish an employee training program concerning your hurricane procedures.
  • Specify conditions under which hurricane protective procedures may be implemented.
  • Determine and acquire appropriate emergency protective equipment and supplies.
  • Appoint an individual and designate an alternate to implement hurricane protective procedures.
  • Establish plans for the protection of computer files (e.g., a backup system to secure data and safe storage).
  • If appropriate, develop a system for the identification of employees (e.g., I.D. cards, vehicle permits, badges, etc.).
  • If appropriate, inform all employees on when and how they will be notified to report back to work.

Preparedness

  • Monitor a local radio or television station for official emergency information and instructions.
  • Take photographs or video of business establishment inside and out, from all angles. This will help to substantiate insurance claims later.
  • Assemble insurance policies and records necessary to expedite quick settlement of claims; package in waterproof container.
  • Make arrangements to pay employees, preferably in cash, as it may be some time before banking institutions are operational.
  • Implement protective procedures as conditions warrant.

Building Exterior

  • Clean drains, gutters and downspouts of the buildings.
  • Remove antennas or loose objects from the roof.
  • Bring in display racks and other objects usually left outside.
  • Secure all loose objects, such as trash cans, which might cause damage during strong winds.  Remove outdoor signs. 
  • If building has exterior glass frontage, clear out that section of the building as much as possible and use shutters or board up to protect glass.
  • Tape in an “X” fashion on the inside of the glass to reduce shattering.

Building Interior

  • Move goods, equipment or furniture away from windows and skylights to avoid from water damage. 
  • Clear all desk and table tops of small loose objects.
  • Take down all loosely secured pictures, plaques, etc.
  • Relocate files, boxes, computers, office machines and other equipment to the innermost portion of the building or a safer location.
  • Do not leave boxes, files or equipment on the ground floor; elevate them by placing items on desk or table tops.
  • If time permits, make an inventory of all moved items to ease unpacking after the storm.
  • Disconnect electrical equipment, except for refrigeration.
  • Cover merchandise, machines and equipment, file cabinets, etc. with tarpaulins or plastic sheeting and secure with sturdy tape.
  • Close all windows and draw blinds or drapes.
  • Turn off the electricity except for refrigeration at the power box and lock all doors when you leave.
  • Before leaving the property, recheck outdoor objects.
  • If you own equipment that could be useful after the storm, notify local emergency management officials.