June 1 is the first day of a month that many of us associate with the start of the relaxing days of summer, but it’s also the first day of a time of the year that is one of the most important for business owners – hurricane season.
While we hope for a calm and uneventful season, which will last until Nov. 30, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), it’s crucial that we remain prepared and vigilant in the face of potential storms. Hurricane season brings with it the potential for severe weather conditions, including heavy rains, strong winds, and storm surges. By taking proactive steps now, you can minimize the impact of a hurricane on your life and your business.
Whether it’s your first time weathering the storm or you’ve grown up in a hurricane zone, understanding how to prepare for one of these catastrophic weather events can mean the difference between minor damage and major destruction for your business. And as we continually build our knowledge of hurricanes, we understand more and more just how destructive their power can be.
Consider that between 2019 and 2021, there were 56 weather and climate disasters, including hurricanes, with losses greater than $1 billion, according to NOAA, and that while Hurricane Katrina was the most expensive hurricane in recent history, with approximately $161 billion in damage, Hurricane Ian, which struck Florida and South Carolina last year, as a category 4 Atlantic hurricane, was the second-largest insured loss after Katrina, according to the reinsurer Swiss Re.
MaintenX, as one of the largest national facility maintenance and repair companies in the U.S., has a long history of helping business owners understand the risks of hurricane season, and, as we do each season, we’re here to offer our expertise as a resource in helping prepare for storms, make it safely through storms, and address any damage after storms as best as possible.
This year we’re kicking off this effort with a rundown of the most common types of commercial property damage risks from hurricanes to keep in mind as well as some of our top tips on how to prepare your business for a hurricane. We invite you to peruse them and stay tuned for more in-depth blog posts on many of these risks and tips throughout the next several months, as hurricane season reaches its peak, from mid-August and mid-October.
Most Common Types of Commercial Property Damage Caused by Hurricanes
- Roof damage – Water intrusion, gutter damage and metal roof panel destruction are the most common type of damage. Metal canopies can be blown away from the wind, and modified materials can similarly be torn apart.
- Interior damage – A powerful storm can cause doors and windows to be torn from their hinges or broken by flying debris.
- Structure and foundation damage – Extremely powerful wind gusts can cause a building to shift and leave cracks in the structure or foundation below.
- Equipment damage – It’s common for heating and air-conditioning units, appliances, and generators to be damaged.
- Utility damage – Infrastructure including power lines, internet connections, water systems and vital power grid components is almost always damaged after a hurricane.
Top Tips for Preparing for a Hurricane
- Understand your property insurance – Check your policy or call your agent well in advance of hurricane season to discuss how to be prepared for a hurricane and to figure out any additional coverage you may need.
- Put up plywood to seal off windows and doorways – This is the most practical method for protecting these openings.
- Clean your gutters – This is particularly important during hurricane season. It allows water to flow properly and move away from a building.
- Secure outdoor items – Anything left outside has the potential to become a missile, so it’s important to bring in or secure outdoor items, like trash cans, tables, and chairs.
- Prepare an emergency kit – If you have to remain at or near your business, include fresh water for drinking and sanitation (one gallon per person per day), several days’ worth of non-perishable food items, a flashlight, a first-aid kit, and a charger for mobile devices. And don’t forget to pack extra batteries.
The key to reducing the risk of damage to your business is to begin preparing now. We hope you plan ahead using the insights here, and we hope everyone stays as safe and protected as possible this storm season.