How to Prepare Your Warehouse for a Hurricane

Hurricane season is here, June 1 - November 30, and it is vitally important to make sure that your warehouse is prepared for the worst case scenario when it comes to a hurricane.

This may be a surprise to you, but there are things you can do to prepare your warehouse for a hurricane well in advance. Follow along to see the steps that you should take to make sure that you are prepared for hurricane season this year.

5 Steps to Prepare Your Warehouse for Hurricane Season

Please note that this is not an exhaustive hurricane preparation list. What works for one warehouse might not necessarily work for yours.

This list is a great jumping off point to make sure that you are prepared as much as possible.

Also, for insurance questions, please refer to your individual insurance company to see what they recommend for coverage based on your specific needs.

We hope that you find our list helpful while you prepare your warehouse for hurricane season.

Let’s get to it.

  • Step 1: Create An Emergency Exit Plan for Staff
  • Step 2: Ensure That Your Warehouse Safety Equipment Is In Working Order
  • Step 3: Check What Is Covered By Your Insurance Company
  • Step 4: Let Client’s Know Your Policy On Hurricane Damage
  • Step 5: Clean Up After The Hurricane

Step 1 : Create An Emergency Exit Plan for Staff

Knowing how to get out of your warehouse, in the fastest and safest way possible, is extremely important when it comes to creating an emergency plan. You need to ensure that your warning system is up to date and working properly and that all staff members are aware of the proper emergency procedures that you have put in place.

You can create a simple list of steps for your employees to follow and share that list with them. Then, once a month, you could do a drill to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

By implementing an emergency exit plan for your staff, you will be one step closer to preparing your warehouse for a hurricane during hurricane season.

Don't forget that having an emergency plan in place, and having your team trained on where the exits are and how to operate or secure your industrial doors, is crucial to preparing your warehouse for a hurricane.

Make sure that you include the following in your emergency exit plan:

  • Windows are properly secured
  • Equipment is pushed far away from the windows
  • Pathways are clear
  • Safety systems are operational
  • Inventory is secured to prevent further damage

Step 2: Ensure That Your Warehouse Safety Equipment Is In Working Order

You need to make sure that your safety equipment is fully operational and in good working order before a hurricane strikes. Having a preventative maintenance plan is one of the best ways to ensure that your equipment is working well.

The last thing that you want to deal with is having your safety equipment fail on you.

You may want to consider adding an IIOT solution to your warehouse in the future to help streamline your safety equipment. Things like safety modules can help to improve the effectiveness of your warehouse, your staff, and your equipment.

One really great feature of the Opti-Vu safety module is that it can create real-time notifications. These are configurable and can be set to alert your staff for specific safety needs, times during the day, and for specific users. You could even take this a step further and use the loading dock trends to lock onto the effectiveness of your monthly safety drills that we discussed earlier.

Speaking of safety notifications, another thing to consider is getting everyone registered with the free FEMA mobile app.

The app provides you, and your staff, with real-time alerts from the National Weather Service. Some of the key features are: emergency alerts, safety tips, locating emergency shelters nearby, reminders, and much more.

Step 3: Check What Is Covered By Your Insurance Company

Obtaining proper insurance coverage is another thing to think about before, during, and after hurricane season.

Call your provider to discuss what options are available and how they apply to your unique situation. Don’t settle for basic coverage if you need a more detailed coverage plan.

Every warehouse is different and you don't want a one size fits all solution to your problem. Remember, the earlier that you contact them to discuss coverage, for hurricane damage, the better.

Step 4: Let Client’s Know Your Policy On Hurricane Damage

Preparing is all well and good, but sometimes losses do happen.

That is why you need to reach out to your clients, before hurricane season, to discuss what your policy is on damaged goods.

Remember to tell them how many days you would be closed, when you expect to be up and running again, and what your emergency safety plan is.

Have an open and honest conversation about how deadlines, cost, and shipping would be affected if you were to suffer hurricane damage. By reaching out to them ahead of time, you are showing them that you are prepared, trustworthy, and professional.

Step 5: Clean Up After The Hurricane

In the event that damages are suffered, take the following steps to safeguard your staff and equipment:

  • Wear protective clothing and equipment to ensure that you can clean up glass and other debris without risking injury
  • If there is water damage present, take the proper precautions necessary to reduce the risks of electrical shock. Any wet carpeting will need to be replaced in order to prevent the risk of mold forming. Also, make sure to sanitize and properly dry all wet surfaces before returning items to their original locations.
  • Call your insurance company ASAP to get a claim started

Equipment That Can Help You To Prepare Your Warehouse for A Hurricane

While we know that it can be hard to predict the damages, risks, and procedures necessary to prepare your warehouse for hurricane season, we hope that this list has been helpful.

One final thought, you should consider adding specialized equipment to your warehouse to streamline the preparation of your warehouse.

Besides streamlining your warehouse, other considerations include weatherizing your loading dock using weatherproof equipment. By weatherproofing your equipment, you can help to mitigate damage and losses associated with inclement weather. Consider adding weather seals, dock shelters, and insulated door blankets to improve the safety of your staff, equipment, and inventory during a storm.

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