How to Ensure Employee Safety During a Hurricane
During a hurricane, here’s what you can do to stay informed and keep your employees safe.
Know the severity and timeline of the storm.
Familiarize yourself with warning terms used for hurricanes, as well as the rating scale for how damaging the storm may be.
- Hurricane/Tropical Storm Watch: This means that a hurricane or tropical storm is possible in your area.
- Hurricane/Tropical Storm Warning: This means a hurricane or tropical storm is expected to reach your area, usually within 24 hours.
- The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale: This is a measurement tool that helps evaluate how severe a hurricane is. It ranges from 1 to 5.
- “Category 1 and 2” hurricanes are less severe storms, but still dangerous and damaging, and require preparation.
- “Category 3, 4 and 5” hurricanes and higher are considered major hurricanes. They can cause significant damage to your community.
If it’s safe to do so, monitor the condition of your building.
If your company has a physical address in the path of the storm, ensure that someone is keeping an eye out for damage, as recommended by the Small Business Administration. This person should:
- Stay in a safe place, away from wind and flooding, at the height of the storm.
- Watch for roof leaks, pipe breakage, fire or structural damage.
- Keep an eye on important equipment that has to stay online.
- Turn off electrical switches in a power failure to make sure the switches don’t automatically turn on before necessary checks are completed.
Evacuate if you need to.
- Listen to local authorities and evacuate if necessary.
- If it’s not possible to evacuate, familiarize yourself with how the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends you respond if you or your employees aren’t able to evacuate and you don’t have a safe room.
- As the worst of the storm passes, keep listening to local news and broadcasts.
- Pay attention for news of additional rainfall and flooding, which could affect where and when you dispatch employees.
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