The official season for hurricanes in the United States is June 1 through November 30. The number and severity of storms fluctuate from year to year determined by atmospheric and ocean temperatures. Adhering to the following planning and preparing tips for severe weather can make the difference between being negatively impacted by a disaster or keeping your operations and personnel safe.
Write a Hurricane Preparation Plan
The first step in getting ready for a hurricane occurs before there’s even one on the way. It’s important that you have a written hurricane preparation plan, whether it’s incredibly detailed or just a memo to assign everyone a task to complete in advance of the storm.
Monitor the Weather
The second step is to monitor the weather on a regular basis, even when there is barely even the threat of a summer shower. Online sites will have the latest severe weather alerts posted almost immediately. Weather radios might be a worthwhile investment as well. These devices are configured to receive weather reports and are often equipped with alert capabilities that can be set to sound an audible alert if there is a severe weather event in store for the broadcast area.
Secure Job Site Materials
Once it looks like a storm will be passing close enough to a project, job site personnel should perform critical tasks, such as securing materials, trash, tools or other debris that can take flight in heavy winds, including items like dumpsters and portable bathrooms.
Items like fence screens and job site signage also must be removed, and any in-progress utility systems must be protected from sand or seawater intrusion if there is the possibility of storm surge. Take the time to take any moveable electronics and project documents from the construction trailer and transport them to a safe location offsite. Power must be turned off, if possible, and fuel must be made available to power generators if there is no power post-storm.
Secure Hazardous Chemicals
Another important step is to make sure that any hazardous chemicals are moved or secured. Construction firms and others in the building industry should take the steps before a natural disaster to ensure they have a qualified team in place to handle their hazardous waste management program.
Ensure the Security of the Structure
Now that the items on the periphery of the project are secure, it’s time to safeguard the structure itself. For example, if the work is a renovation, or if work has progressed on a new building to a point where water can significantly damage the interior, crews should board up any openings and accessible windows and place sandbags around the perimeter.
Assess the Damage With Caution
When the storm has passed and local authorities have given the go-ahead, it’s time to return to the project site to assess the damage and start to clean up. It’s important to use caution when navigating every area of the project site, especially those with standing water, as the accompanying sharp or jagged debris could pose a danger. It’s also essential to use the same care when entering a building after a storm because, depending on the extent of the damage, some structural elements could be compromised.
Need Help Preparing?
Each situation is unique, but any organization can be better prepared if it plans carefully, puts emergency procedures in place, and practices for emergencies of all kinds. Let us help prepare your job site this hurricane season by contacting us today!