Contingency Planning & Preparing for Hurricane Season
Contingency plans for hurricanes are crucial for any business located in an area likely to be hit by hurricanes. Power outages, destroyed buildings, flooded roadways and supply shortages can greatly affect a community’s quality of life and local businesses. A contingency plan enables a business to anticipate potential challenges a hurricane could bring and prepare for them before the hurricane reaches land.
Preparing your business for hurricane seasons starts with developing a multi-step contingency plan. When taking the time to develop a contingency plan, you should also be aware of the advantages of investing in emergency industrial generators and the ways you can choose the right generator for your business.
How Can Hurricane Season Affect Your Business?
A hurricane can have a range of effects on your business. Hurricanes that come in lower intensities may knock out your power for a few days, while a Category 5 hurricane could rip off roofs and make walls collapse. Whole areas can even become uninhabitable for months when a major hurricane strikes.
The effects of the storm can cause your business to shut down for a great deal of time. Even those who experience minor damage and power outages can be negatively impacted, as they may not be able to meet client deadlines or get key operations running until power returns.
Given the potential harm hurricanes can bring to your business, it’s wise to have a plan to reduce the damage and respond to the threat in a way that protects your most valuable assets.
Managing Risks With a Multi-Step Contingency Plan
To give you an idea of how to prepare a comprehensive contingency plan for hurricanes, consider following these steps:
1. Develop a Preparedness Checklist
Learning how to prepare your business for hurricane season starts with developing a checklist of all your assets that need to be protected. In the event of a hurricane, you need to identify the most vulnerable equipment, machines or materials quickly so you can protect them. A preparedness checklist may include the following assets:
- Welding machines
- Heavy equipment
- Fuel tanks
- Work vehicles
If reports of a hurricane come in, a preparedness checklist can give a business some direction for what they need to protect and keep them from forgetting about protecting important assets in the frenzy leading up to a hurricane.
2. Plan Relocation
Once you’ve determined which assets should be protected, start developing a plan for what you’ll do to protect them. One of the primary ways you can protect vehicles, boats and equipment is to relocate them to a safer area.
Take some time to find a safe storage facility or area, so your staff knows where they need to go when you give the order to relocate the assets. Your plan should also include how much time it may take to complete the relocation progress. Having a timeline helps you know when you should begin the relocation process and also lets you know how your normal business operations may be affected.
3. Prepare to Secure Assets
The assets you can’t relocate should be secured during a hurricane to reduce the chances the storm damages them or causes them to damage others. Begin by determining the supplies you need to keep your assets secure. Some of these supplies may include banding material, anchors, blocking and tie-downs.
After your business gets the needed security supplies, you’ll want to organize them so you can access them quickly and secure your assets as fast as possible. You may also want to implement training leading up to a hurricane to show staff how to tie down or secure various pieces of equipment, materials and tools.
4. Make a Plan of Action for Hurricane Watches
Once you’ve drafted your checklist and decided which items you’re going to secure and which you’re going to relocate, a qualified staff member or manager should review these materials and create an action plan for the company to follow. When a hurricane watch sounds, having a centralized document with a plan for your team to follow can help everyone know what they should be doing to keep your business safe.
5. Defend Against Winds and Hurricane Conditions
Within 24 hours after a hurricane warning sounds, you should attempt to put up as many effective defenses against wind damage as possible. Depending on your facilities, you may have a significant amount of work to protect your buildings and pieces of equipment. Staff should be aware of their duties, and it’s a good idea to know how long it will take to put your defenses up. Some of the common steps you can take to protect a property include:
- Installing plywood or storm shutters to protect your doors and windows from wind debris that could crash through unprotected openings.
- Cutting down and removing any trees or branches close to your facilities that could fall and harm the building.
- Switching off utilities before the hurricane makes landfall.
- Evaluating your roof to ensure it’s prepared to handle a hurricane. Loose shingles or holes you may not have noticed before could make the effects of a hurricane much worse. Since repairs may take time, it’s good to conduct roof inspections regularly during hurricane season so you have enough time to repair them.
- Purchasing sandbags and placing them in areas likely to be subject to flooding that need to be protected.
- Bracing furniture, like filing cabinets, shelves and bookcases, with wall studs. The wall studs can help prevent these pieces of furniture from falling over, potentially damaging themselves and other items around them.
- Raising electronic and other water-sensitive equipment to higher ground. Water damage can fry a computer, leading to lost data and costly repairs. You may also want to move heaters, gas tanks and water heaters to reduce the chances of water damage.
- Securing tools and electronics with straps and other appropriate ties to ensure they don’t fall from high distances or get thrown around with the wind.
6. Gather Supplies for Anyone Stuck at Your Facilities During Storm
Staff likely shouldn’t be at your facilities during a hurricane, but some businesses may need them there during the storm to conduct essential services. Sometimes, employees may be trapped at the facility even if they don’t have an essential service to perform. Before hurricane season starts, collect supplies to have in case of an emergency at your facilities. The supplies you might keep at your facility include:
- A few days worth of bottled water
- Non-perishable food that can last a few days
- Battery-operated TVs or radios
- Containers and water for washing
- Tool kits to help with repairs
- Duct tape
- Tarps and plastic bags
- Emergency industrial generators for times when the power goes out
- Batteries, light-sticks, flashlights and electric or gas lamps
- Bedding and furniture, like blankets, cots, sleeping bags and chairs
- First-aid kits and medical supplies
- Fire extinguisher and smoke alarms
- Coolers to keep opened food and other supplies cold
7. Suspend Operations
When landfall is predicted, it is wise to suspend operations within 24 hours of the announcement. You don’t want to risk putting your staff or assets in danger by having them working close to a hurricane’s arrival. Staff members should cease any business operations and complete any relevant safety tasks assigned to them before heading home to hunker down.
8. Back up Your Data
While many companies use the cloud to back up and store data, other companies still store their data on local networks and on-site hard drives. This approach can be cheaper and provide greater security from outside cyberattacks, but it can be a major problem when a hurricane hits. If your facilities are destroyed or experience severe water damage due to the storm, you may lose your electronics and all your data.
Those with financial, procedural and client data on their computers may experience major setbacks if this data is lost. To prevent data loss and keep invaluable information secure, you can look into cloud services that allow you to store your data on the internet, keeping it from being lost in damage to your computer systems. Besides protecting your device from damage, placing your data on the cloud can also help employees work from home, as they can access needed information off the internet.
If you have documents in physical form, you may even want to scan them and place them in digital form to protect them. Even with the documents scanned, you may want to keep the originals safe. You can invest in waterproof containers to seal the documents in to prevent water damage.
9. Conduct Damage Assessment and Theft Prevention After Storm
After a storm has hit and passed on, it’s crucial for you to take steps to rebuild and get your operations back up and running. One of the first things you’ll have to do is conduct damage assessment and identify potential hazards. Some of these hazards include damaged electrical panels, downed power lines and damaged structures.
You can also look for areas or items prone to theft. Loose tools and broken windows can leave you open to robberies. Try to do your best to resecure facilities to prevent theft. Additionally, you should document the damage for insurance purposes and for planning safe cleanup procedures. You may also need to notify utility companies of power outages and other relevant utility outages.
10. Get in Contact With Your Insurance Provider
If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, you likely have insurance to protect against especially catastrophic storm damage. Once the storm has passed, you should contact your insurance agent to assist with assessing the damage and making any claims.
Before you start making any repairs yourself or cleaning up significantly, it’s a good idea to document the damage via pictures and video. This sort of documentation can ensure the insurance company doesn’t overlook damage sustained in a storm and gives you full reimbursement. If you need to make repairs quickly and hire an outside contractor, make sure to keep records of these transactions for reimbursement purposes.
How to Choose the Best Generator Rental in an Emergency
One of the best pieces of equipment you can have in the case of a hurricane is an industrial emergency backup generator. Though each industry may have specific types of contingency plans for hurricanes, power generators are almost always a key part of any contingency plan. Since you’ll likely be looking for a generator in preparation for hurricanes, you should know how to find the right generator for your needs.
While you try to decide which generator is right for you, remember these factors that are important to your contingency plan for hurricanes:
- Necessary wattage: As you search for a generator, do some research on the amount of wattage your facility uses. You can find this wattage information by looking at old utility bills, using an ammeter to measure peak usage or calculating via square footage. The generator you choose should have the wattage required to provide enough energy at your company’s peak usage.
- Type of equipment being powered: You may not want to power your entire facility and instead only want to power specific areas or pieces of equipment. If this is the case, research the pieces of equipment or areas to find how much wattage they typically use daily.
- Reserve power capacity: You don’t want to have barely enough power to meet your peak usage. A power surge or increased demands are possible and could cause problems if the generator can’t handle it. As you choose a generator, make sure it has some reserve power.
- High voltage: Generally, it’s a good idea to look for higher voltage in generators. The higher the voltage, the stronger the electric current the generator creates.
- Phase type: You’ll often see either single- or three-phase generators. A single-phase generator only provides one current of fluctuating power. Due to its limited capacity, it’s often better for residential purposes. In contrast, a three-phase generator creates three separate currents that combine to form a stable source of power. This more stable power makes three-phase generators the popular choice for industrial applications.
Benefits of Rental Generators in an Emergency
As you consider investing in emergency rental generators, you should be aware of their advantages. Power can sometimes be taken for granted, but in times of hurricanes or other natural disasters, power’s value becomes much more apparent. When a region loses power, it can be devastating to a company’s ability to stay productive and provide clients with high-quality service. Generators can solve many of these problems by providing power in times when grids are down.
Below you can find some of the top advantages to using industrial emergency power generators:
1. Keep Facilities Illuminated
If your facility gets hit with a blackout, your staff or any other people on the premises may be more susceptible to injuries sustained from slipping, tripping or falling. These injuries can be especially harmful if your facility has lots of sharp tools or is more than one story. A generator can be set to turn on in these situations, providing enough energy to power lights and help people make their way out of your facility safely.
2. Prevent Revenue Losses
It’s no surprise that when you don’t have power, it’s a lot harder to generate revenue. While most businesses can’t expect to be profitable or do much business during a hurricane, many hope to get back to normal as fast as possible to minimize revenue losses. If you don’t have power, it’s going to be difficult for many staff members to complete their duties and start bringing money into the business.
Revenue losses can be minimized when you use a generator rental for emergencies. While your power provider begins to fix damaged power lines and get power back to you, a generator can get your equipment, computers and other electrical devices working again, allowing your company to get back to work faster. Having an independent power source can help reduce revenue loss significantly by ensuring your productivity doesn’t drop a great deal after a hurricane strikes.
3. Power Crucial Services
Sometimes, businesses and organizations can’t afford to lose power. For example, a hospital needs to be up and running even in the worst storm. A power outage could be disastrous for hospital patients, especially those who need urgent care. Other times, a company may need to produce supplies the community needs after a hurricane. These companies cannot wait for the power to come back on.
A business that needs to stay operational amid a hurricane, no matter the category, should turn to industrial emergency generators. These generators can provide the needed power for a section or the entirety of a facility.
4. Prevent Food or Product Loss
If you operate a business that handles food products or items like pharmaceuticals that need to stay cool or warm, you need Cat® industrial emergency generator rentals to keep your products safe. Power can get knocked out during a hurricane, and without a generator, this may also knock out your refrigeration or heating capabilities. If the power is down for a significant amount of time, your products can spoil and cost your company greatly.
When you have an emergency power generator rental, you can maintain the power in key portions of your facilities. You can keep your refrigeration and heating capabilities running to ensure you don’t lose food and other temperature-sensitive products. While you’ll have to invest in the rentals, you can save a great deal of money by preventing spoilage.
Trust Foley, Inc for Cat Emergency Generator Rentals
When disaster strikes, you need a generator you can rely on to provide you a reliable power source during an emergency. Foley, Inc offers high-quality generators and will take time to help you find industrial emergency power generators your company can benefit from. For years, businesses and U.S. federal agencies have trusted Cat emergency generator rentals, making Cat generators some of the most well-respected generators worldwide.
In order to provide the best emergency power generator rentals, our staff will conduct a free emergency power facility assessment. During this assessment, we’ll help you determine the appropriate emergency generator size and explain the different pricing options and installation considerations. As you decide on a generator, you can complete this emergency power planning worksheet to help you understand what generator you need to get your contingency plan ready.
Contact Foley, Inc today for your assessment and advice on the appropriate generator.