Actions to Take After a Hurricane
The hurricane may cause extensive damage, flooded roads, downed power lines, and washed out beach or river areas. While checking the condition of your facility is a main concern, there may be limitations which may impede you from accessing it.
As personnel return to the facility and begin the preliminary damage assessment process, they should be aware of the following potential problems:
- Beware of snakes when going into grassy areas or other locations.Personnel should wear boots and be cautioned to look where they place theirfeet and hands.
- Be aware of possible downed electrical wires which should be considered"hot"and avoided until the power company or electrical maintenance personnelare notified. Although your house or boat may be without power, generatorsmay be operating, thus electrical linesmay be charged!
- Checks should be made for leaking natural gas by smell only, notwith matches or candles.
- Facility fueling docks and tanks should be checked for leaking gasolineor diesel fuel.
- Electrical equipment of the facility that has been submerged in watershould not be started until it has been checked and repaired as necessary.
- Broken sewer or water mains should be reported immediately to eitherthe utility company responsible for repair, or to the maintenance personnelif owned and maintained by the facility.
- Building, shop and dock electrical wiring should be checked completelyprior to turning on the main power switch.
- Wet electrical appliances, such as hot plates, toasters, calculators,typewriters, etc. should be inspected and repaired or replaced as necessary,prior to operation.
Prepare a written assessment of damages as soon as possible. Estimate damages to docks and piers and other harbor facilities: cranes, mast hoist, boat sheds, toilets, showers, lockers, Harbor Master's office, fuel dock and office, electrical transformers, electrical service, and telephones.
If there has been any theft or vandalism loss or damage to the facility, other than storm related, a report should be made to local police or other law enforcement authorities so that appropriate action may be taken. The incident report number and, if possible a copy of the incident report, should be obtained to substantiate any insurance claim or IRS property loss reporting.
While it is understandable that immediate repairs may be needed, all actions taken during the course of repairs prior to any insurance adjustment should be properly documented and filed. In the case of facility property damages, appraisers assigned by the insurance company will be involved in assisting with the adjustment. Insurance companies will establish storm claim offices to handle the numerous claims after a hurricane strikes.
In catastrophic situations, extra personnel are called in to handle the volume of claims.
It is obvious that third party vessel owners, captains, caretakers and others with vessel interests will inquire as to the status of their vessel. These inquiries should be fielded as possible, especially if there is no damage to their property. Notification of any vessel damage should be made as soon as possible.
While vessel owners may want to return to marinas or yard facilities as soon as possible, they should be advised as to the situation at the facility and as to the availability of berthing facilities for their vessel. If damages preclude the facility from providing a berthing space for the vessels, owners should be so notified and advised as to when the facility may be available to provide a berth.
Controlled access and/or security at a facility may be required. Plan how you will handle:
- members and non members in the case of yacht clubs.
- tenants and non-tenants in the case of marinas or other facilities.
- radio, television and press representatives.
- outside salvage contractors, repairers, estimators, surveyors, adjustors,and appraisers.
There may be many other actions and precautionary measures that can be taken prior to, during or after a hurricane strikes an area. The above may not cover all actions that should be taken, but is provided as a guideline and checklist that can be a starting point for developing a hurricane plan.
If there are specific measures or precautions unique to your operations, fit them into the checklist when preparing the plan for your facility.
Only by being prepared in advance will you be able to reduce loss and damage as the result of a hurricane.
This information taken from a pamphlet prepared by:
The University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Science and Florida Sea Grant