For six months each year—June 1 to November 30—the watch is on for hurricanes in the Atlantic. That’s when 97 percent of tropical activity occurs. That’s why we want to help you prepare your business if a storm hits. Here are some tips to help you get ready:
- Survey your property: Check all greenhouse bracing to make sure it’s secure. Clear drainage systems so water can flow away quickly. Pick up loose items around your business that could become airborne in high winds.
- 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. They should be backed up on a regular basis with copies kept in a safe area off site. Having records on hand will speed up your claim process.
- 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 hurricane 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.
Dealing with damage
Once the hurricane passes, here are some things to keep in mind while you assess the damage:
- Check on workers: Account for all employees and see if anyone’s hurt. If so, get them medical help.
- 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.
- 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. It’s also your chance to let everyone know that things will get back to normal quickly.
Other dangers to consider
It’s not just those of you with a business near a coast that need to worry about hurricanes. Often, tropical storms trigger heavy rains, storm surge, and inland flooding. But flooding can come from more sources than rain—a dam or levee failure, mud flow, snow melt, spring thaw, and even new development runoff or a line break during construction can bring on flooding. In fact, flooding can be more damaging than hurricane winds.
That’s where insurance comes in. Flood insurance is available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). We took a closer look at insuring yourself against flooding in a previous blog. Check with your agent to see if you’re eligible for this kind of coverage.
After a hurricane or other natural disaster, contact your 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.
If you have any questions about how to protect your employees, inventory, and buildings from storms and other disasters, your Hortica insurance specialist is ready to provide some answers.
Learn more about protecting your business, check out the Hortica Resources section.
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