The Atlantic hurricane season runs June 1 through November 30. A combination of wind and wind-driven rain from a hurricane can cause major damage to a building and cause downtime to your business. A great time to start protecting your structure is now! Get your business prepared with these steps ahead of the storm to help reduce property damage.
1. Review your insurance policy
2. Inspect your roof
Start with your roof and its components. In the guide below, you will learn how to inspect and maintain your roof, whether you have a low-slope roof with a membrane, a steep-slope roof with shingles, or anything in between. You will also find guidance for roof components like drainage systems, flashing, roof-mounted equipment, and more.
3. Seal your windows
- Check seals around windows and use sealants compatible with adjacent building materials to seal any cracks or gaps to keep water out.
- In some cladding and/or storefront systems, there are weeps that are intended to stay open and should not be caulked.
4. Inspect your roll-up, garage, and overhead doors
- Check the brackets that connect the door frame to the structure. Make sure they are tightly secured, not missing any bolts or nuts, and are not broken.
- Make sure there are no major dents, damage, warping, or rusting.
- Check for a wind label. If there are no labels, contact a commercial door contractor to determine if you have the proper door for your area.
5. Secure outdoor equipment, signage, inventory, and other loose items
- Consider pallets, tables and chairs, patio umbrellas, benches, and other moveable items.
- Make sure sign connections have no missing bolts or screws and are free from rust.
6. Trim your trees
- Keep all trees trimmed and away from the roof and building. Trees near or overhanging your building can damage the roof, damage the building, and clog drains.
7. Service your generator in case of power outages
The time to maintain a generator is well before a major storm or disaster strikes (when professional assistance may be unavailable, power lines are down, and access roads are blocked). Backup power can help maintain a consistent building temperature and reduce the risk of freezing pipes leading to business disruption and damage.
- Permanent generators should have a proper maintenance plan that includes weekly, monthly, and annual checks. See the manufacturer’s specifications for more information.
- Run the unit weekly on its maintenance plan to ensure it is properly functioning in case of an emergency. Individual units may have a timer that allows a programmed test to be scheduled. Qualified personnel should oversee these scheduled weekly tests.
- Check the generator enclosure for loose debris or other conditions that could cause the unit to not function properly.
- Store in a dry location.
- Set up a maintenance schedule to include periodic test runs for the unit.
8. Check your drainage
- Ensure all outdoor drains are clear of debris, especially around shipping and receiving areas.
- Be sure roof drains are clear.
- Extend downspouts away from the building to divert water.
9. Understand your flood threat
- Look up your property on your local flood map by visiting FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center or by contacting your city or county government to understand your flood risk. Note: Flooding can occur outside of high-risk flood areas.
- Know the base flood elevation (BFE) for your property and determine whether the elevation of your building’s lowest floor is above or below the BFE.
10. Create a business continuity plan
- Help your business plan for any type of business disruption. Learn how at disastersafety.org/business-protection/ofb-ez.
11. Get reliable weather information and alerts
- Stay alert to help you and your employees stay safe. Purchase a NOAA weather radio for your business.
- Find a reliable source for hurricane updates. Pay attention to hurricane forecasts from the National Hurricane Center (NHC). Follow the NHC on Facebook or Twitter and tune in to local news often.