Hurricane Season is here, and it is time to have those important conversations and reminders on safety with your crews and clients.
There is just no way to avoid it… Hurricane Season comes every year, and every year you must prepare your home, business and clients for any possibility the storms may bring. And thanks to the recent wakeup call from Tropical Storm Gordon, hurricanes and storms have come to the forefront of almost everyone’s mind (at least in the South). The Atlantic Hurricane Season officially began June 1st and runs all the way through November 30, and this past week, Hurricane Florence became the first major hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season. Looking ahead, and according to ABC7 Weather, forecasters are predicting 3-5 major hurricanes for the U.S. this year. As we already know from experience, it takes just one major storm to cause catastrophic damage and loss to property and lives.
No need to fret just yet. There is still ample time to jumpstart your hurricane preparedness plans and resources. While you should already have an evacuation and storm safety plan in place, this is the perfect time to fine-tune your preparations and kits, as well as prepare your crews and employees should there be a hurricane coming your way. While there are a number of safety supplies you will need to procure and properties you will need to secure, there is one crucial part of hurricane season that can sometimes get overlooked and that is Communication.
Communication – This is a huge piece of the puzzle when it comes to Hurricanes. How and what you communicate to your employees and customers will partially determine how you “weather” the storm. First, your crews must know how to prepare the job site, the agreed upon time frame for ceasing construction prior to a storm and how you will remain in contact with them during and after the storm. You will want to talk with crew members to decide who will be available to tend to job sites and customers immediately following the hurricane; while this part may change depending upon how team members may be personally impacted, it is still important to have established and agreed upon a role for each member of your crew. The same goes for your office staff; they too should have an office prep plan to secure computers, back up files and store important paperwork, along with a plan for checking in to confirm their safety.
Your clients, especially active job sites, will need to receive the same level of communication. Clients have their own personal safety and families (and businesses) to worry about, and it is your job as a construction professional to make them feel comfortable and confident that you are taking all appropriate steps to secure their property or construction project. Share with them your plan for preparing materials and property, securing the job site, removing debris, building materials and equipment that could pose a hazard during high winds. Help them to understand that you are informed, care about their well-being and property, and provide them with a realistic timeline for when you plan on stopping and restarting construction activity.
With all clients, active and inactive, you are well positioned to provide storm safety resources and tips for ensuring that their homes and properties are properly prepared for high winds and heavy rain. Use this time as an opportunity to engage your customers and provide tools to guide them through what can be a daunting, and sometimes panic-filled, process. OSHA, FEMA, CDC and other government agencies offer checklists and hurricane preparedness advice that can benefit you and your clients, including but not limited to:
- Checklist for disaster and emergency supplies kit
- A worksheet and tools for building your emergency response plan
- Tips for Preparing an Emergency Food and Water Supplies
- Clean Up Safety Guidelines
More resources can be found online, including helpful tools for getting safety on the radar of your crews and customers. While it is not realistic to personally prepare every client and contact for an impending storm, communication will go a long way in helping them prepare and understand how your business puts their safety first.
For more information on construction business and marketing tips, stay connected with the HBW Blog. To get ahead of construction activity and gain access to the latest permitting data in Florida, Texas, Georgia, Alabama and Oklahoma, contact HBW for more information on construction data reports and industry leads.