Hurricane season officially kicked off on June 1, and the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) Intl. has released its top 10 tips for property professionals to prepare for a hurricane or natural disaster.
Experts at the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center are projecting a 75-percent chance that the Atlantic Hurricane Season will be above normal this year, and with the start of hurricane season upon us, NOAA recommends those in hurricane-prone regions to begin their preparations. Retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, PhD, undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator, predicts a strong season. "For the 2007 Atlantic Hurricane Season, NOAA scientists predict 13 to 17 named storms, with seven to 10 becoming hurricanes, of which three to five could become major hurricanes of Category 3 strength or higher," Lautenbaher said in a statement issued by NOAA last week.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the Gulf Coast states during the summer of 2005, was the most costly natural disaster in U.S. history.
It is important to begin planning now. Here are some guidelines to help you prepare for a hurricane or emergency situation:
- Create an emergency-preparedness plan and team to deal with emergency issues.
- Identify objects within the building envelope that would need to be removed, stored, or secured (e.g. trash cans, site furniture, materials stored on the roof).
- Identify doors and windows that would need to be boarded over or taped to reduce flying glass in the event of breakage.
- Identify additional building elements that may warrant special attention, such as roofing materials, flashing and coping materials, roof vents and air intakes, awnings, gutters and downspouts, roof-mounted, post-mounted or suspended signage, free-standing equipment, and siding materials.
- Review local evacuation procedures and identify the agency that will issue the evacuation order.
- Determine how the evacuation order will be communicated and where evacuation routes and shelters are located.
- Begin preparations for a possible shutdown and evacuation of your building when a hurricane watch is issued. Do not wait until a warning is issued; it may be too late.
- Make certain all of your tenants are aware of the building-evacuation procedures in the event of a hurricane and encourage tenants to participate in evacuation drills.
- Develop a system to notify tenants of building status after storm.
- Appoint a re-entry team to access building damage.
"Preparedness is the key to protecting your tenants and your facility in the event of a hurricane," says BOMA Intl. Chairman and Chief Elected Officer Kurt R. Padavano, RPA, CPM, FMA, SMA, and Chief Operating Officer at Advance Realty Group in Bedminster, NJ. "By having a comprehensive and updated emergency-preparedness plan in place, building owners and managers can protect themselves in the event of any disaster at any time."
This information was reprinted with permission from the Washington, D.C.-based Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) Intl., an international federation of more than 90 local associations and affiliated organizations. BOMA's 16,500-plus members own or manage more than 9 billion square feet of commercial properties in North America and throughout the world. BOMA Intl. offers guidance on designing an emergency-preparedness plan to help commercial property professionals prepare for any type of situation. Everything building owners or manager need to develop, assess, or re-evaluate your emergency-preparedness plan is available in The Property Professional's Guide to Emergency Preparedness and Are Your Tenants Safe? Both publications cover planning for the multitude of situations that property professionals encounter, both natural and manmade disasters. For a full list of BOMA publications related to safety and emergency preparedness, visit the BOMA Store at (http://ga4.org/ct/H11UZps1yzhn/).