Security services companies throughout the United States are getting calls to assist in the storm ravaged sections of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. Emergency response agencies are being stretched thin as they try to make their way through the flooded coastal towns throughout the region. Hurricane Sally has been delivering between 60 and 105 mile per hour winds to the Gulf Coast.
She has already dropped well over 24 inches of rain in some areas, including Pensacola, FL, and felled trees, caused widespread flooding and mass power outages. To make matters worse, Sally is taking her time. She is a very slow-moving storm. That means more time having to endure high winds, more rainfall, and more time for a significant storm surge to develop.
The damage caused by Hurricane Sally can affect all aspects of a community, from government services to private enterprise. We are already getting reports of severely restricted response resources, communications, transportation, and utilities. Flooding, high winds and downed power lines are leaving many individuals, businesses and neighborhoods cut off from outside support. Damaged roads and disrupted communications systems may restrict the access of emergency response agencies into critically affected areas.
If you are in the path of the storm, government officials have issued orders to stay indoors if possible or to seek higher ground if you are at risk of being flooded out.
Here is an example of what is being heard throughout social media regarding Hurricane Sally:
Be Safe During the Hurricane
This has been one of most active hurricane seasons on record. If you happen to operate a business in the effected areas, now is the time to refer to your Hurricane Preparedness Plan to make sure that your people and assets are safe. Make sure that you have determined your evacuation routes and have communicated them to your team. Establish meeting places. Distribute emergency phone numbers to all members of your team and keep them handy. If you have one, contact your Emergency Response Security Service Provider.
If you are lucky enough not to be in the path of Hurricane Sally, but still operate your business in hurricane or tornado prone area, let this storm serve as a reminder to have a Hurricane Preparedness Plan in place.
Learn more: What is Emergency Response Security Service?
Remember – safety first. Moving around during an active hurricane is not a good idea. Stay put. Avoid unsafe situations and call for help if you need it. Some roads may be impassable for a short time. Some communities may be unreachable. For the initial period immediately following the Hurricane Sally, some households, businesses, and neighborhoods may need to rely on their own resources for food, water, and shelter. It is important to stay calm and make decisions based on putting safety first.
What You Should Do After the Storm Passes
As the storm subsides and it becomes safe to visit and move through your business property, make sure that you take photographs of all damage. These will be essential in dealing with your insurance company as you discuss what is covered. Keep in mind that exactly three years ago, in 2017, Hurricane Ivan caused over $27 billion dollars in damage and claimed the lives of 57 people in the United States.
If your power is out, only operate portable generators in compliance with your lease agreement and in accordance with your municipality’s ordinances regarding temporary or emergency power generation for commercial properties. Never operate a portable generator inside a facility, parking garage, basement, or mechanical shed. Opening doors or windows will not provide enough ventilation to prevent the buildup of lethal levels of CO. If your carbon monoxide alarm sounds, do not ignore it! Get outside immediately. Then call 911.
Inspect your electrical machinery and appliances for wetness. Electrical or gas appliances that have been wet or submerged could cause electric shock or fire. Do not use those items. Instead, catalog them for your insurance company. Do not touch electrical or gas machinery or appliances that are still plugged in and not completely dry. If you smell gas, do not use electrical equipment, including your cell phone. Leave the building, get clear of the fumes and contact the fire department and the local gas utility from a safe distance.
If your facility has had significant water damage or flooding, have a professional evaluate your facility before allowing your employees and staff to return. Consider replacing all gas control valves, electrical wiring, circuit breakers, and fuses that have been under water.
Prepare for the Next Storm
It is important to learn from every experience – even the bad ones. If your business was impacted by Hurricane Sally, now is the time to record what you did, what was effective, what worked and what didn’t, so that you can prepare for the next hurricane. Do you have a Hurricane Preparedness Plan in place? Did you have the need for an Emergency Response Security Team? If so, now is the time to speak to some providers and learn what your options are.
Want to learn more about developing a hurricane preparedness plan? Use the link below to download our FREE eBook: The Essential Hurricane Preparedness Guidebook today!
IMPORTANT! - If you are in a storm-related emergency situation right now, please dial 911 or reach out to your local police department for guidance.
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