15 Tips to Prepare your Commercial Property for Hurricane Season

By Gary Tasman

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), we see 15 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes in an average hurricane season from June 1 to November 30.  Regardless of the size and intensity of the storm, our team wants you to be fully prepared for small tropical storms and major hurricanes alike. Here are our 15 tips to ensure your commercial property has the best chance of mitigating the damage and safety hazards that can occur during and after major storms.

Before a Hurricane

  1. Make sure your building was built to code and make any necessary updates as soon as possible. Many commercial and industrial buildings along the Gulf Coast were built to withhold hurricane-force winds.
  2. Read your lease and make sure you know exactly what you’re responsible for. If you have any questions, please visit cpswfl.com.
  3. Know about hurricane hazards and assessing risks. Check out this FEMA guide for more information.
  4. Make sure your flood and insurance policies are in place. If your property is in the hurricane’s path, it’s too late to get insurance coverage.
  5. It’s a good idea to take photos and videos of your building before the hurricane hits. This could come in handy later for insurance purposes.
  6. If your business is on the ground floor, make sure you place loose items up high or remove them from the building altogether in case of a flood.
  7. Remove furniture and items from outside common areas, decks and patios.
  8. Update emergency contact information and pay close attention to evacuation orders.
  9. Backup all computer files in the cloud and move computers to a secure, centrally located room. If they can’t be removed, place a garbage bag on top of them and secure it with duct tape. Place any paper files in this room as well.
  10. Since the window sills are usually lower, it’s best to place a towel along your store front to prevent wind-driven rain from entering your unit.
  11. Property owners should create or update their tenant phone number list as well as their tenant communication plan for emergencies.
  12. If you’re in a property with a generator, make sure the fuel is topped off, any automated circuits are tested in advance and that you have access to fuel on the backside of the storm.

After a Hurricane

  1. If you notice that your building is flooded or damaged, it’s important that you DO NOT enter the building. There could be hot electrical lines, downed power lines that could be energized, unknown structural problems or the roof or the walls could cave-in. If you need assistance or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
  2. Be aware that it could take some time to repair your building. Contractors will have a lot of work and may not be able to respond quickly. Acquiring materials for repairs will also be hard, if not impossible, to find.
  3. Check in with your tenants to assess any further issues or damage.

Are You Sure You’re Insured?

Making sure you have your insurance policy in order before a storm hits can make all the difference. Locate your insurance documents and keep them in a safe place. If anything needs to be updated, it’s best not to wait.

What’s covered under your flood insurance policy can be complex so making sure you know exactly what’s covered is extremely important, especially because cancellations are becoming more common. This can vary depending on the insurance policies and providers chosen, where your business is located, the industry or type of business.

Cushman & Wakefield | Commercial Property SWFL knows that hurricanes can be unpredictable. That’s why we have a dedicated property management division that will help you review your policies, and help set a detailed storm management plan in place to secure and repair your building. Our team will also assess the units and building to ensure they are safe to enter.

Hurricane season is here. Make sure your building and tenants are prepared. For a free assessment of your property, reach out to the Commercial Property Experts at Cushman & Wakefield | Commercial Property Southwest Florida at 239-489-3600 or contact-us.

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