The damage caused by tropical storms and hurricanes can be devastating, but if there is a silver lining, these storms develop slowly and provide crucial advance warning.To maximize the time before the storm hits, here are the top five things you can do to prepare:
Develop an action plan. With sustained winds and torrential rain, protecting the safety of people and property is critical. Begin your plan with a safety checklist. Include specific actions that need to be taken at different times — 72, 48 and 24 hours — leading up to the storm. Be sure to include:
- Identification of potentially hazardous materials — fuel and combustible storage
- Location of emergency shutoff switches, including water, gas and electric
- Proper storage of pesticides and hazardous equipment
- Inventory and current images of course, equipment and maintenance facility
- Evaluation of insurance policy to determine coverage and ensure premium is paid
- Backup of computers and safe storage of valuable business papers and records
- Identification of all potential flying debris (trash cans, bunker rakes, signage, tee marks, pins) for removal and safe storage
- Pumping down pond levels and removal of any materials from low-lying areas
- Assigning individuals responsible for actions.
Verify communication. Inform all employees of the plan. Be sure to update all current contact information. Determine how you’re going to communicate and use multiple vehicles in case one line of communication is disabled. Test the system. Include response mechanism for staff to mark themselves accounted for and safe.
Outline evacuation plan. Designate individuals who will stay on-site during the storm. Release all nonessential staff after storm preparations are complete and safely before storm makes landfall. Follow any mandatory evacuation orders from local authorities.
Stage equipment for cleanup. Confirm chainsaws and generators are operational and stored off-site and fuel is available. Fill water coolers with fresh water. Have recovery materials staged and ready for return. Make arrangements with contractors or vendors before the storm to ensure rapid response for recovery.
Practice your plan. Emergency preparedness training should be conducted for all employees on a regular basis to familiarize everyone with the plan. Prior to hurricane season, practice what to do in a real-life storm. Run-throughs can help identify any gaps or areas that need improvement.
Having a detailed action plan can help keep people safe and aid in the quick recovery for your course.