Preparing government facilities for hurricane season
Editor’s note: According to the National Hurricane Center, the Atlantic hurricane season officially runs from June 1 through November 30. The Eastern North Pacific hurricane season runs from May 15th through November 30th. With stormy weather just around the corner, GPN reached out to ABM, a provider of facility solutions, for the following information on hurricane preparedness.
Hurricanes are among the few natural forces that can be anticipated with sufficient time to prevent employee injury. Unfortunately, it is more difficult to prevent property damage. Preparation is critical—the U.S. Department of Labor estimates that 40 percent of businesses never reopen after experiencing a natural disaster.
One vital element of pre-planning that is often overlooked is establishing a relationship with a facility services provider that can offer emergency services. However, it is important that this relationship is developed before a hurricane.
Choosing a facility services provider
As government officials research and gather information on service providers, they should be mindful of working alongside a partner that can deliver a vast majority of the emergency services needed. That way the government entity can avoid managing multiple contractors during a stressful time. Key products and services that may be required include:
• Low- to high-voltage electrical services
• HVAC and mechanical services
• Plumbing services
• General cleanup, water and debris removal
• Roof, door and window repairs and replacement
• Carpentry and handyman services
• Security services to protect assets
• Temporary generators
Agencies need to take proactive steps to minimize loss and maximize continuity of the organization. The key to minimizing property loss and maximizing business continuity is preparing for a hurricane, not reacting to it. While a facility services provider like ABM will be instrumental in the cleanup, they can also help government departments and agencies take proactive steps to reduce property damage and prevent employee injury.
What can you do today?
It is important to immediately develop a written plan. The plan should list all assets, local evacuation guidelines, procedures for pre- and post-storm operations, staffing policies, computer support, and communication guidelines.
The agency should ensure that all employees, clients and suppliers’ contact information is up-to-date and that an emergency contact list and communication plan is finalized. Finally, make sure all necessary hurricane emergency supplies are stocked and readily accessible; FEMA has provided a useful planning checklist at this site.
ABM’s capabilities include facilities engineering, commercial cleaning, energy solutions, HVAC, electrical, landscaping, and parking. The firm provides services through stand-alone or integrated solutions. The company provides custom facility solutions in urban, suburban and rural areas to properties of all sizes. The firm serves governments, schools, commercial building operators, hospitals, manufacturing plants and airports.