How to survive a hurricane

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A Florida beach destroyed by a hurricane with cars, boats and buildings falling into flood water

How to effectively prepare for and overcome a hurricane

It’s that time of year again. The Atlantic hurricane season is the period when tropical storms are the most active and likely to form hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean. Historically, the regions most severely impacted include the east coast of the United States, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. With businesses across these areas at risk from tropical storms until late November, we’ve published our new white paper detailing how to survive a hurricane.

Download this white paper and get expert risk and security advice on how to mitigate risks during he 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season white paper. 

 

What is a hurricane?

In general, a weather system is generated when warm water from the ocean surface interacts with cooler air. It starts as a tropical depression and then transforms into a storm depending on how strong the wind intensifies. When a storm’s maximum sustained winds exceed 74 mph, it becomes a hurricane.

Infographic detailing how an FM Global survey found that 62% of businesses feel unprepared to deal with hurricanes

The threats they pose

The ways in which a hurricane can affect your business are extensive due to the large variety of threats that hurricanes present.

Some of the most notable include:

  • High winds – The winds during a hurricane can destroy buildings and almost weaponise debris left outside
  • Heavy rains – Cyclones are known for producing torrential rains that can cause severe coastal and inland flooding
  • Tornadoes – While they tend to be weak, tornadoes produced by tropical storms are still pose a threat to human safety
  • Storm surge – An abnormal rise of water generated by a storm’s winds. These large waves are the main cause of hurricane related deaths in the US
  • High surf and rip currents – For those out at sea when a hurricane strikes, the violent sea poses a serious threat to life

Infographic explaining how flooding can cut off access around a building, produce strong currents and present a risk of electrocution if power lines fall due to a hurricane's high winds

 

Hurricane survival guide

How to mitigate the risks of a hurricane before it happens

Preparation is key. Being proactive and identifying the risks your business is most likely to face if a hurricane strikes is crucial. This will allow you to develop a risk management plan that everyone can buy-into and establish best-practices to follow. To help you achieve this, you can use RiskMonitor to stay informed with expert regional intelligence and analysis. Real-time risk alerts will empower you to understand the severity of a hurricane threat and plan accordingly.

There’s no harm in being over prepared.  So, conducting infrastructural investigations across all facilities, as well as distributing emergency supplies across all office locations are great extra steps to take to help your business become hurricane-ready.

What to do if your people are caught up in a hurricane

Following the successful implementation of a risk management plan, your business and people will be in good stead to mitigate the risks your people or business could face. However, should the worst happen, read these expert survival tips: 

  • All staff should stay indoors at all costs and take shelter in the strongest part of the building to avoid flying debris – the largest cause of fatalities during hurricanes
  • Refrain from using landline telephones as these may conduct lightning. Instead, stick to using mobile phones, but for emergency calls only
  • Be sure to stay hydrated by planning for one gallon of clean water per person, per day. Dehydration during a hurricane is common and can be fatal
  • Ration food supplies and consume as necessary to ensure everybody remains as strong and able as possible
  • Stay away from windows, doors and skylights to avoid flying debris or anything falling. It is common for hurricanes to bring trees and even parts of buildings down, and so it’s best to avoid any area where you could be exposed to falling objects
  • If near the coast, try to attain some kind of elevation as there is a high chance of flooding during a hurricane. Flood water can not only be violent but also full of bacteria that could pose a serious threat to life if it enters the bloodstream
  • Listen out for and follow the instructions given by local authorities. They will know how and when to evacuate anybody stuck inside the hurricane strike zone.

For extra peace of mind, with services like OverWatch – providing you with 24/7 monitoring on your behalf – risk platform providers can manage and monitor risks for you.

Infographic detailing the top 5 recommended non-perishable foods: canned vegetables, nuts, canned pasta, canned soup and peanut butter

How to manage risks after a hurricane has hit

What are you doing to fulfill your legal duty of care to your employees? After a hurricane strikes the devastation can be overwhelming. When you can, focus on establishing contact with affected personnel, ensuring they have access to food, water and medical supplies. Quickly locating employees across the affected regions will help you establish whether anybody is in need of medical attention or immediate evacuation. Having the ability to contact your employees quickly is crucial. Many organisations do this using a people tracking tool such as PeopleMonitor, which enables tracking and 2-way communications.

Are any of your employees in need of assistance? After making contact, part of your duty of care is to manage your employees’ wellbeing. There could be a situation whereby your employees are in need of security or medical assistance and need to be evacuated.

Once everybody is accounted for or tended to, your next focus should be establishing the damage to your facilities and equipment in the affected areas. Use a tool such as AssetMonitor, where you can see all your global assets on one screen, to help provide you with a clear picture of how business operations will be affected and the best action to take in order to restore operational continuity.

Ensuring your business recovers quickly from a tropical storm or hurricane is key to reducing financial implications and maintaining your organisation’s reputation.

Infographic listing the top 10 costliest hurricanes in United States history, with Hurricane Katrina being the most costly at $160 billion

 

Start planning now

Every Atlantic hurricane season poses a serious threat to countless businesses with 460 direct hurricane hits on US mainland between 1851-2018, and this year will be no different with at least 8 hurricanes predicted to reach the US this season.

Gain a better insight into the likelihood of a tropical storm affecting their business here, and begin implementing combative precautions to protect your people and assets, mitigating hurricane generated risks before they happen.

 

Download our white paper now and gain an even more detailed insight into how to survive a hurricane.

Button to download our new hurricane white paper