South Florida 2013 Hurricane Preparedness Tips

South Florida 2013 Hurricane Preparedness Tips

The Atlantic hurricane season officially begins on June 1 and ends on Nov. 30; Panter, Panter & Sampedro, P.A., is no stranger to the effects that these hurricanes have had in Miami. Hurricanes affect infrastructure, damage buildings and vehicles with flooding and debris, and cause businesses to lose valuable information and equipment, not to mention the days of lost productivity. Everyone along the East Coast should have a hurricane preparedness plan. Read on to prevent unnecessary injuries and damage to property.

Preparing For Hurricanes: Before, During And After

There are many steps to take before a hurricane reaches land:

  • Keeping dialed into radio, TV, and NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards Receiver is a start.
  • It’s a good idea to invest in a disaster kit, which typically contains a first-aid kit, a whistle, batteries, prescription medications and a gallon of water per person per day for at least three days. For more suggestions on what to include in your disaster kit, visit the federal government’s hurricane preparedness website’s basic disaster supply kit page.
  • Be sure to have a family emergency plan and consider storage locations for different situations.
  • Now is also the time to determine safe evacuation routes and make sure that you have an emergency communication plan in place.
  • Charge your cellphone, but don’t rely on cellphones exclusively. Create several safe meeting places should cellphone service be disrupted.
  • Be sure to check FEMA’s evacuation guidelines in case you need to evacuate.

Check Your Building’s Structural Integrity To Prevent Later Injury Or Loss

Now is the time to inspect your home and repair drains and gutters. Find out whether you live or work in an area prone to flooding. Make plans for storing vehicles elsewhere if your usual parking area tends to flood. Also, be sure to secure all roof-mounted equipment such as HVAC units and exhaust vents. If you’re going to install windstorm shutters, make sure to have all your tools or enough plywood to cover windows and doors.

You will also want to survey your outdoor property. Make a plan to store any loose tiles, lawn furniture, tools, playground items, etc. that could turn into dangerous projectiles. If you store gasoline or other flammable materials, find a safe, sheltered area for them away from where people will be taking shelter. Secure any heavy equipment and outdoor signs.

Business Owners, Don’t Forget To Take These Additional Steps:

  • Back up all data on servers and computers, ensure that you have remote access to your company website, and appoint a person or team to manage changes and updates to the website.
  • Turn off noncritical devices such as monitors and other electrical equipment unnecessary for the running of your business, and keep your uninterruptible power supply above the floor in case of flooding.
  • If your offices are on the ground floor, be sure to raise equipment and electronic devices off the floor before leaving.
  • If you can, disconnect the main electrical feeds to the facility to prevent potential fires caused by short-circuiting of damaged equipment.
  • Make sure to create and communicate a workplace plan and fill your company-owned vehicles with fuel.
  • Inform your employees of your storm policies and procedures at the beginning of each hurricane season. Make sure they know how to connect with you after a storm hits.

During And After The Storm

During a storm, you will need to remain in a safe area. Constantly monitor any equipment that must remain online. Remember to turn off electrical switches during a power failure to prevent reactivation. Make certain the storm has passed by listening to your radio and make sure the area you are trying to access has been declared safe before securing it and taking care of damage.

Stay off of closed roads, and observe your environment for live wires, leaking gas or flammable liquids and structural damages. Environmental hazards cause many accidents and injuries after severe storms.

Salvaging is an important part of the after-storm procedure. To be safe, cover roof and window damage promptly. Put aside damaged goods and clear debris from roof drains to prevent drainage problems.

When contractors start repairs, it is important to make sure the workers are safe and systems are in place for their safety before work begins. No one should smoke or bring open flame sources to the work area.

For both homes and businesses, contractors should be required to share responsibility for ensuring fire-safe conditions before and during the job. This is a moment in which everyone needs to be doubly careful for workplace and home safety. Owners of buildings or shopping centers, homeowners and landlords are obligated to ensure that their premises are reasonably safe and secure for all those who enter. Read more on premises liability or contact Panter, Panter & Sampedro, P.A., with any questions.

Sources:

My Agility, “Hurricane Preparedness Checklist 2013″

National Hurricane Center, ” Hurricane Preparedness- Be Ready”

Ready.gov, ” Basic Disaster Supplies Kit

Ready.gov, ” Workplace Plans

The Washington Post, ” Four groups predict very active 2013 Atlantic hurricane season,” Jason Samenow, April 16,