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How to Prepare Your Site for a Hurricane

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Hurricane season officially begins on June first each year, so the beginning of summer is the best time to start thinking about how to secure a construction site in the event of a hurricane. The property damage from a hurricane or even a severe tropical storm can add real costs, as well as time, to any construction project. What do you need to be ready for a hurricane? A good first step to protecting your site and your timeline is to build a hurricane preparation plan.

What Is a Hurricane Preparation Plan?

This type of plan is a way to detail what should be done in advance of a storm. You’ll want to prepare one for any construction during hurricane season you plan to complete. Your plan should include the actions you intend to take at various intervals before a storm. Most construction companies begin their plan the moment the storm is named and identified as a potential threat. Many include the actions necessary at 72 hours prior to a storm, the actions necessary 48 hours before a storm, those required 24 hours before the storm hits, and finally, those that must be handled 12 hours before the storm hits. You’ll want to involve both your job site leadership in this plan as well as any additional project partners. You may also want to include local building departments in the planning process.

Construction During Hurricane Season

Your plan should include how you will secure materials that may blow away with heavy winds. Don’t forget that tools, trash, and debris can all take off with hurricane winds, so you’ll need to have a plan to secure absolutely everything. This is particularly true for bigger structures like cranes, but it also applies to job site signage and fence screens. If utility systems are in progress, plan to make certain they’re protected in the event of a storm surge. If you have hazardous chemicals on-site, those should be removed well before the storm. Take photos of all of your preparations before you leave, too, just so you can demonstrate the thoroughness of your preparations. You should also take photos of any valuable items that must remain on-site so you can protect your investment should it be damaged during the storm. Once your plan is in place, be sure you continually monitor the weather, even during power outages. You’ll want to know a storm might hit your job site well before it does.

After the Storm

After the storm has passed, your hurricane preparation plan may no longer be in effect, but clean-up must be handled carefully. Plan to remove water from structures as quickly as possible, and be cautious if you have to walk into standing water. Keep in mind that downed power lines may still be energized, so take extra precautions as you work to clean your site up.

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