TAMPA (May 21, 2015) –In conjunction with National Hurricane Preparedness Week (May 24-30) , the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) is urging home and business owners to prepare now for the high winds, wind-driven rain and flooding that may occur during the Atlantic hurricane season (June 1 – Nov. 30).
“While hurricane forecasts are predicting a below-average season, that just means fewer storms may make landfall this year. Residents need to remember it only takes one hurricane in your community to cause substantial destruction with long-lasting impact,” said Julie Rochman, president and CEO of IBHS. “As a case in point, Hurricane Andrew in 1992 was the first hurricane in a relatively quiet season, but it devastated south Florida.”
“Now is the time for property owners to review their personal and business emergency plans, stock on up needed supplies, and prepare their homes and businesses for a potential storm,” Rochman continued.
Top 5 Ways to Reduce Property Damage from Hurricanes
IBHS recommends the following top five steps for property owners to strengthen their buildings against the high winds, flooding and wind-driven rains of hurricane season.
- Survey the outside area around your property and secure loose objects before a storm to reduce potential flying debris; trim trees and shrubs away from buildings, removing any weakened sections of trees.
- Protect all windows and doors from high wind and flying debris damage by installing shutters or roll-downs, or installing permanent fasteners to use with pre-cut shutter panels on hand for quick installation when a hurricane threatens.
- If your home garage door or business roll-up door isn’t pressure-rated, have a bracing system installed to prevent wind from blowing in the door.
- Make sure to “get your roof right” by using ring-shank nails to double its strength, sealing the roof deck to keep water out, re-adhering loose shingles, and ensuring all vents and soffits are securely attached. Learn more about how to strengthen your roof with this video.
- During renovation or construction, homeowners should have your house tied together with metal connectors, such as hurricane straps, to keep it from blowing apart during high winds. Learn more about creating a continuous load path by watching this animation video.
Top 5 Hurricane Business Preparedness Recommendations
- Review your business continuity plan and update as needed, including employee contact information. If you do not have a business continuity plan, consider IBHS’ free, easy-to-use toolkit for small businesses, OFB-EZ (Open for Business-EZ).
- Remind employees of key elements of the plan, including designation of employee to monitor and alert severe weather, post-event communications procedures and work/payroll procedures. Make sure all employees have a paper copy of the plan and participate in regular training exercises. Review emergency shutdown and start-up procedures, such as electrical systems, with appropriate personnel.
- Inspect your buildings and complete any maintenance needed to ensure they can stand up to severe weather.
- Test all life safety equipment. If back-up power such as a diesel generator is to be used, test your system and establish proper contracts with fuel suppliers for emergency fuel deliveries.
- Re-inspect and replenish emergency supplies inventory, since emergency supplies are often used during the offseason for non-emergency situations.
More information is available from IBHS on hurricane preparedness at www.DisasterSafety/hurricane.