With hurricane Irene coming, people from North Carolina up to Maine are preparing themselves for the worst. Generators, bottled water, canned food, and flash lights are just a few of the items flying off the shelves as people get ready for strong winds and rain. People along the east coast have had several days to prepare and still have a little time to get things together before Irene reaches the US. Meteorologists have been tracking the storm since it first started swirling and are constantly updating people about the latest projections for the impact. The high winds and rain that come with hurricanes can do a lot of harm and damage to people and property if proper measures are not taken ahead of time. Meteorologists track the storm and try to give people as much time as possible to prepare because there is a lot to be taken care of prior to the first rain drop falling.
Reports of gas stations being shut down, electricity going out and water services going down during after the storm have people scrambling to get their homes ready. In the confusion of preparing, don't forget businesses need to be ready also. There are measures you can take to prepare your storage facility for a hurricane or any inclement weather. It is important to keep your staff and clients safe and have your facility prepared to withstand the possible conditions.
The North Carolina Self Storage Association has posted tips about what precautions should be taken to prepare your facility and your customers. Here are the tips that they recommend:
- Listen to weather forecasts and any available information regarding the weather regularly. Anticipate the worst and be prepared to complete all the tasks for a safe and successful shut down and evacuation.
- Locate the tools and equipment that may be needed and assemble it at a central location. Those items should include but are not limited to: flashlights, batteries, tarps, hand tools, etc.
- Walk the facility and identify any items that can be secured or stored inside until the storm passes. Secure those items immediately.
- Clear drains and downspouts to reduce flooding. Turn off any automatic timers for sprinkler systems.
- Move any vehicles that may possibly prove to be in the way. If you have any boat/ RV parking, call those tenants to remind them to make sure their property is secure.
- Be aware that in the days prior to a storm, the power may go out frequently. Determine if you want to limit property access during this time to only when the office is open.
- Print a Rent Roll, Vacant Unit Report, Access Code Report, and an Insured Roll report from Store and any other reports you think you need to work with in the event that the power is out for an extended period of time.
- Identify and collect important office documentation and move the data to a location that is not vulnerable to the situation at hand.
- Unplug the computer, fax, modem lines and any other electrical equipment in the office that is not needed for emergency information. Move equipment away from windows.
- Keep the telephone plugged in until you leave the facility. Charge your cell phone until the power goes out. Make sure that someone has a way to reach you whenever possible.
These are the tips that they recommend. There are other things to consider if you have a self storage facility that is in the path of a storm. You should also look into protecting your facility further. You should consider taking the time to tape up or board up large windows you may have in your office area. You should try to keep computers and other electronics far away from windows to try to keep them away from the elements in case a window does get broken or if the heavy rains break seals and start water leaks around windows. Also, you could post something on your facility's website letting customers know when, or if, you are closed.
Being prepared for the storm and taking precautions can save you a lot of time and money and ensure the safety of your storage facility, staff and clients renting storage units from you. Taking a little time ahead of time and investing in a few precautionary measures cannot hurt. The cliché of "it is better to be safe than sorry" is something to think about, especially when trying to deal with elements of nature.