Hurricane Florence is taking aim at the east coast and has her sights set on the Carolina's. Whether she arrives as a Category 4 or Category 5 there will be strong winds and the potential for record rainfall, the kind measured in feet, not inches. Should the worst-case scenario occur, the amount of time required to return to “business as usual” can depend largely on the steps you take now.
Planning and being prepared for a hurricane can make a huge difference in your safety and resiliency after the storm passes. If you do not have a Business Continuity Plan in place, the information and resources below can help you prepare your business (and home) for hurricane Florence as well other types of disasters.
Steps to take now:
Monitor weather reports and sign up for local alerts and warnings - http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/
Test your Emergency Communication Plans – if you do not have a communication plan, download our free Company Contact List and develop communication protocols for before, during and after a disaster. Create an emergency communication plan for home as well, with details for contacting one another and details for how to get back together once it is safe.
Collect and Safeguard Information – Backup financial data, legal documents, customer, vendor and utility contact information and other mission critical data.
Educate Staff – Address shelter locations, emergency communications, evacuation plans and other policies and procedures in place for disasters.
Review Insurance Coverage – Including flood insurance and review or create an inventory of devices.
Secure Property – Remove dead branches or other potential projectiles, secure signs and flagpoles. Bring any loose, lightweight objects inside and anchor any objects that are not safe to bring inside. Check gutters and drains for debris. Relocate your physical documents and critical items to higher areas.
Stock Emergency Supplies – Gather the necessary supplies and items you and your family will need to stay safe during and after the hurricane. You should also create a “go bag” with many of the same items in case you need to evacuate:
- Emergency Radio
- Water (at least 3-day supply)
- Medications/First – Aid Kit
- Critical Documents (place in a easily accessible waterproof container)
- Non-Perishable Food (at least 3-day supply)
- Multi-Purpose Tool and/or Toolbox
- Charging blocks and Batteries
- Hygiene and Sanitation Items
- Protective Clothing, Footwear and Gloves
- Blankets and Pillows
- Comfort & Priceless Items
During the Storm:
Always follow guidance from local authorities
If asked to evacuate, grab your “go bag” and leave immediately
Stay away from windows and seek shelter in interior rooms
Move to higher ground when flooding occurs
Never walk or drive on flooded roads
Steps for preparing to evacuate:
Check with the Department of Transportation and the local office of Emergency Management to find evacuation routes close to you. To find shelters near you download the FEMAapp at: https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app
Plan for your entire family including pets when packing your “go bag”
Always keep your gas tank at least half-full
Keep important numbers written down in case you are unable to access your contact list via phone
Pick an out-of-state contact everyone can check in with to report their status
After the Storm:
Floodwaters can contain dangerous debris such as glass, metal, sewage, gasoline oil and downed power lines – do not wade in floodwater.
Do not enter a damaged building until it has been inspected for damage to the electrical system, gas lines, septic system and water lines.
Do not use electrical equipment if it is wet.
Avoid drinking tap water until you are sure it is safe.
Throw away any food not kept at a proper temperature or exposed to floodwaters.
Use appropriate protective equipment when cleaning up. Flood waters and mud left from flooding can contain sewage, bacteria and chemicals.
Air out the area by opening windows and doors
Move out any saturated materials, especially those with visible mold
Clean out and disinfect any areas with remaining debris and mud.
Additional Resources and Information:
South Carolina Department of Transportation Hurricane Florence Resources https://www.scdot.org/travel/stormResources.aspx
North Carolina Department of Transportation Travel Resources - https://www.ncdot.gov/travel-maps/traffic-travel/severe-weather/Pages/summer.aspx
FEMA Hurricane Information - https://www.ready.gov/hurricanes
Complete list of recommended emergency supplies - https://www.ready.gov/prepare
Pet Emergency Planning - https://www.ready.gov/animals
U-Haul (offering free storage to those in the path of Florence) - https://www.uhaul.com
American Red Cross Helpline 1-800-733-2727
FEMA Helpline 1-800-621-FEMA (3362)