|You can't prevent, but you can prepare!
While hurricane paths are somewhat unpredictable we do have sufficient warning to allow for proper preparation prior to its arrival. For more than fourteen (14) years no hurricane hit the Texas Gulf Coast area of the United States. Only high winds and rain from tropical storms until Rita made landfall in 2005. That same year, Katrina hit the Louisiana- Mississippi coast hard. Then in 2008 Hurricane Ike proved to the city of Houston that having a Hurricane Emergency Plan in place was a necessity. Houston, the fourth largest city in the United States, was devastated. Three and one half (3.5) million people went days and in some cases, weeks without power. Throughout the city, downed trees and power lines were commonplace. Windows in high-rise buildings blown out and debris from offices scattered all over the streets of Downtown Houston
During a hurricane, damage from the high winds is expected. However, even more damage comes from flooding brought about by the surge that accompanies hurricanes.
Hurricanes have hit the Gulf Coast area over the past 58 years with the following frequency:
1950 – 1959
1960 – 1969
1970 – 1979
1980 – 1989
1990 - 2004
2006 – 2007
|Three (3) Hurricanes
Three (3) Hurricanes
Two (2) Hurricanes
Six (6) Hurricanes
None (0) Hurricanes
Two (2) Hurricanes - Rita & Katrina
None (0) Hurricanes
One (1) Hurricane - Ike
In 1983 Hurricane Alicia killed 21 people and left an estimated 1.2 billion dollars in damage in the wake of its path. In September of 2005 the Gulf Coast area experienced its most devastating hurricane in previous years. Hurricanes Rita and Katrina hit the Texas Louisiana and Mississippi coastlines causing an estimated 10 billion dollars in damage.
In the early morning hours of September 13, 2008 Hurricane Ike made landfall and wreaked its devastation throughout Galveston Texas and neighboring resort shorelines and then moved into the city of Houston. Again, billions of dollars in damages and 119 people lost their lives. It was the worst hurricane to hit the Texas coastline in 108 years!
Although the preparation plans for businesses and residents differ somewhat, there are many similarities in hurricane preparation.
Here are a few steps that should be taken in preparation for a hurricane:
- Maintain current copies of the area community hurricane preparedness plan from the emergency management office of the Red Cross.
- Prepare for a communication plan/network with key production and management personnel, weather stations, and local fire and police departments.
- Plan for battery powered backup systems, emergency lighting, flashlights, etc
- Have First Aid kits well stocked and an ample supply of bottled drinking water stored
- Ensure that all employees know the evacuation routes and exits
- Ensure that any and all trailers on premises are well secured and tied down
- Ensure that an ample supply of rain gear and boots are available
- Have an ample supply of food, drinking water, blankets and cots for critical personnel who must remain on site.
- Have battery-operated radio(s) and/or TV(s) for monitoring official storm status reports.
For more information on preparing your company for hurricanes and other contingencies, contact Hamilton Consulting Services, Inc.
Additional factors specific to your facility may be recommended in your Risk Assessment or Emergency/Contingency Plan.