That’s why it’s important to plan for such an event, even if you’re not in an area that would receive a direct hit from a hurricane. Wind, flooding, and power outages are the main concerns when it comes to hurricanes, and they can happen far from a storm’s landfall.
Here are some suggestions to help you limit the damage before, during, and after a hurricane.
Before a hurricane
You might think you’re at the mercy of a hurricane. However, there are steps you can take to minimize damage, including:
- Survey your property: Check all greenhouse bracing to make sure it’s secure. Clear drainage systems so water can flow away quickly from your structures.
- Protect your investments: Fill trucks and trailers with valuable plants and park them next to sturdy buildings.
- Be ready with backups: Gather your business files and records—including an updated inventory of all the plants you have in stock. Information should be backed up on a regular basis with copies kept in a safe area off-site.
- Prepare the building: Determine the areas where power should be shut off and in what order. Also, rent or purchase a generator to help deal with an extended power outage.
- Plan ahead: Create a response plan to protect employees and your property. It should include emergency instructions, evacuation guidelines, and a chain of command.
- Practice your plan: Review your response plan quarterly and look for areas that might need revising. If there’s time before a storm hits, walk through the procedures to make sure everything is ready.
If a hurricane is forecast, you want the most up-to-date information. Weather radios with a battery backup can keep you informed. It’s also important to understand the difference between a watch and a warning:
- Hurricane watch: A hurricane is possible within the next 24–36 hours.
- Hurricane warning: Winds already exceed 74 mph. High water and rough seas are expected within the next 24 hours.
Protect your electrical equipment by unplugging it. That’ll avoid the risk of a surge when power returns. Also, be prepared prior to the storm to evacuate if conditions or emergency responders require such action.
After a hurricane
Once a hurricane passes, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Check on staff: Account for all employees and see if anyone is hurt. If so, seek medical help immediately.
- Look out for hazards: Be aware of any downed power lines, gas leaks, plugged drains, and downed trees and branches.
- Record the damage: Check your buildings and property for damage. Document what you find in writing and take photos. Contact your insurance agent.
- Start salvage and repairs: If it’s safe to do so, perform any temporary repairs to protect your building, equipment, and supplies.
- Get the word out: Through your communication plan, let employees and customers know the status of your operation, what’s being done to recover, and how you’re meeting operational needs.
After a hurricane, flood, or other natural disaster, contact your Hortica agent immediately. A delay on your part could mean a delay in getting your claim processed. Be sure to include photos or video of the damage, as well as a detailed list of damaged items. If possible, include their value and supply receipts.
At Hortica, we’re here to help you prepare for hurricanes and other disasters that could threaten your business. It’s what we do. Contact us today with any questions.