Keeping An Eye On Hurricane Irene

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This guest post comes from Bill Begal, disaster preparedness expert and president of Begal Enterprises, Inc. It is a straightforward directive to all facilities management professionals who may have to deal with the aftermath of the storm that’s about to strike.

Almost everyone on the East Coast of the U.S. has been told to prepare for a very large and powerful storm. As of early this morning (8/25/11), Irene is a Category 3 hurricane with 115 m.p.h. sustained winds.

So while you may not be directly in “the cone,” do not think you are completely safe. Irene may bump up the Eastern Seaboard like an angry pinball.

Powerful winds and storm surge that are not direct can be just as dangerous and damaging, especially if you are not ready.

  • When did you last walk the your property? Was it after the earthquake on Tuesday (8/23/11)?
  • Did you have photos already on file of the exterior to show the condition of the property prior to that incident?
  • Are your buildings’ generators operational? How old is the gas?
  • Can your business operate for five to 10 days without power?
  • If the cell phone cannot be used, do you have a twitter account to communicate? Is everyone on your team following each other?
  • Take the time now to update phone numbers, read thru your “redbook,” and purchase what you may need so you are not scrambling at the last minute.

Here are some additional pointers with regard to safety and well being (which may also apply to businesses):

  • Refer to www.epa.gov to answer questions on mold and how to clean, disinfect , or remediate properly.
  • Get a notebook & keep track of all dates, times, and persons you talk to with regard to your claim.
  • Take digital photos of all affected areas as soon as safely possible.
  • Get a copy of your insurance policy. This defines and determines your limits, rights, and responsibilities to and from your Insurance.
  • Speak/sit down with your adjuster. Define who is taking responsibility for your loss. What are your responsibilities and/or duties to comply as well as make a smooth and seamless claim process?
  • Ask what is the process for listing and evaluating your T/L (total loss) personal property and for getting compensated. Do not throw ANYTHING away, everything has value.
  • Follow up EVERY meeting or conversation with an e-mail to capture what was discussed and might have been agreed to. This will eliminate any potential confusion and misunderstandings later on.
  • Ask your adjuster for a sufficient advance for purchases that are necessary.
  • Save ALL receipts for any additional expenses.
  • Wear P.P.E. (protective clothing such as gloves, hard hat, respirator, Ty-Vec suits, etc.) if you enter a disaster zone, THEN, WASH YOUR HANDS! This is the most effective method of preventing the spread of germs, viruses, bacteria, and disease.

As an aside, our offices are located just under the big red “2″ for 8:00 AM on Sunday, so if you don’t hear from me on Monday morning, you’ll know why…

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