Hurricane season is upon us. It’s no secret that Florida is at a big risk during hurricane season. Although hurricanes are not preventable, they are predictable, allowing time to plan and prepare.
In preparation of a hurricane, ensure that the project office or trailer is equipped with a portable battery operated weather band radio and extra batteries. A checklist should be developed to identify areas in need of protection. Also, develop, maintain and distribute a list of emergency phone numbers and e-mail addresses for employees, sub-contractors, and authorities. Develop a list, procure and store supplies necessary for preparing the site.
Tropical Storm – Once the National Weather Service has identified a tropical storm, carefully track its activity and location. Organize the necessary supplies to protect equipment and materials.
Hurricane Watch – Identify all items that may need to be tied down, weighed down, or banded together. Be prepared to anchor or restrain everything that could blow away and restrain it.
Hurricane Warning – Begin to implement the damage prevention methods that require more than 12 hours to complete. Ensure that dumpsters are emptied, all loose forming materials are stacked and banded, all materials, tools and equipment that can be damaged by rising water are removed.
Landfall – When weather advisories predict landfall in the proximate area of the job site within 12 hours, suspend all normal work activities, finalize the implementation of the hurricane plan, and evacuate all personnel.
After the storm has passed damage assessment, theft prevention, and clean-up will be the main activities. Have a plan in place to notify employees when it is safe to return to the job site. Another suggestion is to create a photo documentation of the site before and after the hurricane.
Lack of hurricane awareness and preparation are common threads among all major hurricane disasters. By preparing what actions you should take, you can reduce the effects of a hurricane disaster.