How to Prepare Your Business for a Hurricane
If you service an area affected by hurricanes, follow these steps to ensure that your business is prepared to respond safely and effectively — before, during and after the storm.
Plan out how your company will respond to a hurricane.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends you create a disaster plan for your company before severe weather hits your area.
- Assemble a planning team. This might include anyone from upper management to labor, security or sales.
- Conduct a vulnerability analysis to find out how prepared you are to respond to a hurricane.
- Make sure your employees are aware of your building’s emergency management policy, including members of key onsite personnel.
- Have a plan for getting ahold of first responders in case you need them to come to your business.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also offers step-by-step guidance for creating a disaster response plan.
Get the right personal protective equipment (PPE) for your team.
If you and your employees are responding to a hurricane, know that NIOSH recommends several different types of PPE. Note that you may need to adapt this equipment to specific hazards your team encounters while on the job.
- Hard hats
- Safety glasses
- Heavy work gloves
- Watertight boots with steel toe and insole
- Hearing protection
Learn more about PPE from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Understand the risks of hurricane clean-up.
Before you get to work, make sure you understand the hazards you might encounter on the job. These can include:
- Low air quality. Flood waters can bring allergens and chemicals into the water and air. Take precautions to limit exposure if your team works in or near the water.
- Mold and fungi. Some fungi and mold can cause health problems when inhaled. Try to avoid breathing particles or dust, or consider using an N-95 mask to lower the risk.
- Electrical hazards. Stay safe from electric burns and shocks. Make sure your team is educated on electrical safety and how to avoid an accident.
Conduct a pre-exposure medical screening.
If the work you do is particularly intense or dangerous, consider having a medical professional screen your team ahead of clean-up work.
- This helps evaluate whether they can handle the physical and emotional demands of the work.
- It also gives them any vaccines or booster shots they might need.
- This screening can also test whether they know how to use PPE properly.
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