Emergency Preparedness Plans for Self-Storage Operations
Last year’s Atlantic hurricane season included two large storms, Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which made landfall in the United States. This year’s extended range forecast published by Colorado State University research scientist Dr. Philip Klotzbach on May 31st anticipates average activity. His forecast for the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season predicts thirteen named storms including six hurricanes with two classified as major hurricanes (Category 3-5). In addition, this forecast estimates the probability of a major hurricane landfall on the entire U.S. coastline as 51 percent, the U.S. East Coast (including the Florida peninsula) as 30 percent, and the Gulf Coast as 29 percent.
The hurricane season officially began on June 1st. Now is the time to communicate with your self-storage clients in coastal areas to encourage them to take action to prepare for severe weather. The first step is to create an emergency preparedness plan, a basic requirement for all businesses regardless of location. Once the plan has been developed, it is important for operators to communicate it to their managers and employees. If your self-storage clients need help creating an emergency preparedness plan, here are some guidelines to pass along to them.
- Training – Provide ongoing training for your staff to familiarize them with the plan’s key elements and procedures including shelter-in-place provisions and post-storm safety considerations.
- Emergency Contacts and Documentation – Assemble a list of important contact information and keep it in a secure location away from the facility premises. It’s a good idea to keep a copy of the list on your person when severe weather is imminent. Contacts should include carrier names, addresses, phone numbers, and policy numbers for each of your insurance policies as well as contact numbers for employees, local police, medical facilities, utilities, and other emergency contacts.
- Insurance – Contact your insurance agent to ensure that storm- and disaster-related exposures are addressed by your policy. Review your building values, deductibles, and business interruption coverage. The time to address potential financial exposures is before you have a claim, not in the wake of a catastrophic loss.
- Vendor Supply Chain – Identify vendors and contractors in your area and talk to them about their ability to respond following a catastrophic event. It may be possible to make arrangements with these businesses to secure priority response for your facility in the aftermath of a catastrophic event.
- Customer Contact Information – Keep an electronic record of customer contact data such as email addresses and telephone numbers in order to provide pre- and post-storm communications about accessibility at the self-storage facility and related issues.
A detailed hurricane action plan prepared by Liberty Mutual Insurance, one of MiniCo’s carriers, is available for download here. In addition, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers many valuable online resources for business owners at here. Resources include insurance coverage review forms, checklists, communication plans, and other preparedness documents.
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