Preparing for the Next Hurricane or Severe Weather Event
The devastation and damage left in the wake of Hurricane Harvey will have an impact on the Houston area and southeast Texas for years to come. But as the waters there continue to subside, Florida and the East Coast are preparing for the threat this weekend from Hurricane Irma. As a category 5 storm, it has clocked wind speeds of 185 miles per hour and is more than 400 miles wide meaning the impact from the storm could be significant and catastrophic.
And Irma is likely not the last storm of the season. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30 with most storms typically arriving from August to October. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) updated its hurricane outlook in early August to a 60% chance of an above-normal season, with up to 20 named storms and up to five major hurricanes. Irma is just the ninth named storm of the season so far.
It is important to have an evacuation plan in place to ensure that workers can get to safety when severe weather strikes. Companies should have a written disaster program in place that outlines procedures for monitoring and responding to changes in weather conditions, as well as the process of communicating severe weather advisories and alerts to employees.
A disaster program should include:
- The types of alert systems used.
- Designated shelter locations.
- Employee responsibilities.
- Disaster recovery procedures.
- Communication and notification systems.
- Facility closing procedures and call-in phone numbers.
- Information technology systems used.
In severe weather, it is critical that an organization stays alert to changing weather conditions. Some of the most common sources of severe weather notification include:
- Live television and radio
- Weather radios
- Computer desktop websites and widgets
- Smartphone applications
Texas-Specific Workers’ Compensation Resources
For guidance on work comp issues in relation to Hurricane Harvey and flooding in Texas, the Division of Workers’ Compensation in Texas has issued a bulletin and launched a resource page with helpful information for injured employees, carriers and health providers impacted by the storm.
More Online Resources
For more tips and information, visit Accident Fund’s Severe Weather Safety page or click one of the links below:
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration – Hurricane Preparedness and Response
- OSHA – Flood Preparedness and Response
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Natural disasters and severe weather – Hurricanes
- Agility Recovery
- National Weather Service – Hurricane Safety
- CDC Storm, Flood, & Hurricane Response
- Environmental Protection Agency – Hurricanes
How to Help Harvey Relief Efforts
As an enterprise, we are supporting the American Red Cross’s Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. You can make a contribution here.