Hurricane Season

By on Sep 30, 2014 in News

With hurricane season in full swing on both coasts, we can all benefit from a refresher on hurricane preparedness for properties and residents.

According to the National Weather Service, last year was relativelshutterstock_125236457y calm for hurricanes and tropical storms with property damages totaling just over $10 million. That’s a significant amount yet pales in comparison to $172 million in damages in 2012 and billions in recovery costs. Even the most basic planning can prevent costly property damage as well as injury and loss of life.

Community safety tips

Make sure that employees and residents are familiar with building-specific and community evacuation routes. It’s difficult to host community drills, so a push notification delivered via smartphone, article in the monthly newsletter, or social media post may draw the most attention.

In high rise buildings, it is conventional knowledge to evacuate residents to lower floors, where wind conditions are more favorable. But be mindful of flood levels, informing residents to congregate on the appropriate floor that is above threat of water damage and below the worst wind. Interior rooms with fewer windows are favorable to exterior rooms.

Keep shrubs and hedges trimmed. Top-heavy plants have a parachute effect in high winds. Keeping them trimmed low can minimize their ability to take flight.

Call professional arborists to remove damaged or decaying limbs from trees even if they are not directly over buildings.  Branches and limbs are projectiles during hurricanes, increasing the likelihood of injuries and damages.

Close the pool and bring in any accessories and patio furniture that are not bolted down. In addition to regular wear and tear during storms, these items may become  dangerous projectiles.

Ensure that gutters and clean and repaired, especially as fall leaves become more plentiful. A simple clog can exacerbate flooding.

For the best protection in storm-prone areas, upgrade windows with laminated, impact-resistant glass.  For more immediate protection when a storm is eminent, be sure to cover windows with 5/8” exterior grade or marine plywood.  This will help minimize damage to the property and prevent injuries caused by airborne glass.

Resident participation is vital

Pass these helpful tips along to residents to promote awareness, preparedness and safety.

  • Families should create personalized gathering points, a place in the neighborhood where family members will meet if they are separated. Smaller buildings and street signs may not be recognizable; select meeting points such as natural landmarks and larger buildings.
  • Households should create and maintain an emergency kit.
  • In the kit, families should include a printed list of emergency contacts. Encourage families to create a list of personal, insurance, and community contacts; you may want to send out the following community contact information, as suggested by The National Hurricane Center:
    • Local Emergency Management Office
    • County Law Enforcement and Public Safety
    • Local hospitals, including youth specialists if applicable
    • Local utilities
    • Local American Red Cross
    • Local TV stations
    • Local radio stations
  • Advise residents to wait for the eye of the hurricane to pass. There is often a moment of calm after the initial chaos. This is only the center of the storm, which will be followed by more heavy winds and rain.
  • Tornadoes may follow in the aftermath of the more powerful storm. Notify residents to keep hand-cranked or battery powered radios tuned-in for updates.
  • Residents ought to be mindful of flooded roads, especially those with moving water. It only takes six inches of rushing water to knock over an adult and two feet of rushing water to carry away trucks and SUVs.
  • Pets may get separated from families during the storm. The debris makes it difficult for them to find their way home. Microchips offer a reliable way to track pets and reunite them with family. With the aforementioned community contacts, it could be a good idea to attach a list of pet care facilities nearby that offer micro-chipping service.