A checklist developed by the American Red Cross.

Read More

Part One: 20 minutes. Assessing your response readiness in the event of a natural or man-made disaster and having a plan to close gaps can help provide quick recovery and business continuity. Part 1 of 3.

Part Two: 11 minutes. Conduct a business impact analysis and develop recovery plans around critical business functions to minimize business interruption. Part 2 of 3.

Part Three: 11 minutes. Business continuity planning includes prevention and mitigation controls, including gap analysis, adding controls and testing your plan for improvements. Part 3 of 3.

Read More

The South Carolina hurricane guide contains helpful and practical tips for all chapters in the path of a hurricane. Check their website for the most updated version.

Read More

A hurricane is a storm with rotary circulation that originates in a tropical depression over the sea with winds in excess of 74 miles per hour. Hurricanes are usually accompanied by torrential rains and flooding along coastal areas. Hurricane season typically runs from June 1 to December 1.

The National Weather Service tracks tropical storms as they intensify into hurricanes. They issue advisories every six hours while a storm is more than 24 hours away from land and more frequently as it approaches landfall. The advisories state the storm’s location, wind velocity, speed and direction. The National Weather Service issues warnings when they determine that a coastal area will be affected by the storm’s high winds or a combination of high water and rough seas.

Every facility located in a coastal area should develop a hurricane emergency plan. The plan should include a detailed procedure and checklist for shutting down processes and protecting buildings, contents, equipment and yard storage. In addition, the procedures should include guidelines to follow to mitigate losses during the hurricane and salvage procedures to follow after the hurricane has subsided.

The plan should include the amount of time required (in hours or days) to complete each major task to ensure preparations are initiated at the appropriate time. Hurricane preparedness also should include the appointment of a qualified group of individuals to form a salvage squad. The objective of the salvage squad is to restore operations to normal as quickly as possible.

Preparation

Preparation for a hurricane should include both long-term and short-term plans.

Long-Term Preparation

Long-term plans should be established, completed and reviewed periodically. These plans will mainly encompass improvements to construction features and site preparation to minimize hurricane damage. Long-term preparations could require several weeks or months to complete.

Long-term planning should concentrate on installing and maintaining construction features to increase the “hurricane resistance” of the property. Any hurricane resistance feature that cannot be permanently installed should be arranged so that the specialized protection can be quickly and easily installed. Protection features will need to be inspected and tested at least annually (prior to hurricane season) to keep them in good repair. The following items should be included on the pre-hurricane checklist:

  • Verify that roof-mounted signs and equipment, guy wires and supports are properly anchored and in good repair.
  • Repair or replace any weak or damaged door hinges and latches.
  • Verify auxiliary lighting is in working order.
  • Complete all applicable items from Travelers Flood Protection, Preparation, Response and Recovery document.
  • Establish a system to protect all windows and openings on the buildings.Installing shutters, bracing large doorways, having material available to cover all glass, etc., will complete this step.
  • Establish an emergency response team and assemble necessary supplies and equipment at a central, secure location. Each year inspect and verify that the supplies are in good repair. Examples of supplies and equipment may include:
    • Portable pumps and hose
    • Mops and squeegees
    • Emergency lighting
    • Tarpaulins/plastic sheeting
    • Lumber and nails
    • Power and manual tools
    • Sandbags
    • Shovels and axes
    • Building diagrams/schematics
    • Ropes/fasteners

Any new construction or building remodeling should comply with the hurricane preparedness plan. Short-term plans should be developed well in advance of a hurricane, but need only be implemented when the projected path of a hurricane puts your facility in imminent danger of receiving damage. To prepare for an oncoming hurricane, detailed procedures and a checklist should be developed to ensure an orderly shut down of all production processes and all property is properly protected. The amount of time required (in hours or days) to complete each major task should be determined in advance to ensure preparations are initiated at the appropriate time..

Short-Term Preparation: As a Hurricane Approaches, Secure the Facility

As the hurricane approaches, quick action will need to be taken to install temporary protection features. The following actions should be completed:

  • Shutter or board up windows to help protect them from flying debris.
  • Clean out floor drains and catch basins. Check drainage pumps.
  • Anchor structures, trailers and yard storage so they will less likely be moved by high winds. Move yard storage inside where practical.
  • Anchor and fill above-ground tanks to capacity with product or water to minimize wind damage.
  • Move drums and portable containers of flammable liquids to a secure properly protected area. Do not move these materials inside your facility unless you contact Travelers Risk Control to help determine if fire protection is adequate to allow inside storage of flammable liquids.
  • Secure outdoor cranes in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Fill emergency generator and fire pump fuel tanks.
  • Inspect all fire protection equipment to be sure it is in service.
  • Move important records to a secure area that is protected from the elements. Duplicate critical records and move them offsite to a location that is not susceptible to the hurricane.
  • Shut down production processes safely.
  • Shut off all flammable liquid, combustible liquid and gas lines at their source to prevent an accidental release caused by broken piping.
  • Complete all applicable items from the Flood section of Travelers Flood Protection, Preparation, Response and Recovery document.
  • Shut off electrical power at the main building disconnect before the hurricane strikes.
  • Evacuate all employees and, if safe for an emergency response team to remain in the building, ensure that the team has the following:
    • Nonperishable food
    • Suitable communication devices
    • Stored drinking water
    • Flashlights/batteries
    • First-aid supplies
    • Vehicles with full fuel tanks
    • Dry clothing
    • Boots/gloves/hard hats

Travelers Resources to Help You With Hurricane Preparedness

Websites

During the Hurricane

Arrangements should be made to evacuate the emergency response team before the hurricane strikes. If the emergency response team is able to stay on site, a safe area of substantial construction should be available for the team members to occupy. The emergency response team plans should be communicated in advance to local law enforcement officials. The emergency response team should continually patrol the facility as long as it is safe to do so and complete the following:

  • Watch for structural damage and make repairs as necessary.
  • Watch for causes of fire (e.g., electrical short circuits, flammable materials floating on floodwaters, and flammable gas escaping from ruptured pipes) and take corrective action as needed.
  • Check sprinkler water pressures frequently and watch for loss of pressure.
  • Watch for flooding from rain or tidal surge and deploy sandbags as necessary.

After the Hurricane

Once the storm has subsided, the salvage squad should be assembled and the squad leader should assign job priorities to safely repair and restore production processes and buildings.

A properly staffed salvage squad generally consists of personnel who are qualified to repair electrical, mechanical, plumbing and fire protection systems. In addition, an adequate complement of personnel for general cleanup may be required. If outside contractors are used, they must be supervised to ensure safe operating conditions are maintained.

The squad leader should verify the salvage squad is properly staffed and equipped to complete their objectives. Typical supplies will include construction tools, mops, buckets, rust inhibitors, fans, water vacuums, brooms, dehumidifiers, squeegees, and wiping rags. Other non-typical items may include the need to order replacement motors, mechanical equipment, etc.

The salvage squad leader should verify the following items are completed

Immediate damage assessment should be completed and action plans developed to address priorities:

  • Look for safety hazards such as downed power lines, exposed electrical wires, leaking gas, etc.
  • Appraise buildings for structural damage or undermining of building foundations.
  • Assess impaired fire protection equipment and alarms.
  • Assess critical production equipment and valuable stock that is required to restore production.
  • Complete temporary repairs and minimize hazards to ensure personnel can safely access the building.

The Salvage Squad Should

  • Provide portable multi-purpose fire extinguishers
  • Require strict precautionary measures for any cutting/welding that will occur in or around the buildings. Refer to Travelers document Cutting, Welding & Hot Work Operations for more information.
  • Eliminate any unnecessary ignition sources and include the enforcement of “No Smoking” regulations.
  • Establish a procedure for removing debris brought by the storm and as a result of any reconstruction efforts.
  • Any holes or other penetrations in the building walls should be temporarily repaired.
  • Assess and prioritize building contents that have been damaged and can be salvaged.
  • Photograph and/or make a video recording of any building or content damage.

Fire Protection Equipment

  • Assess and service fire pumps that were submerged. The pumps should be tested and placed back in service.
  • Assess the integrity of fire protection alarm circuits. Fully test all alarms. Repair as needed.
  • Assess the integrity of security alarm circuits. Fully test all alarms. Repair as needed.
  • Physically test any sprinkler control valves that were submerged to verify they are operational. Conduct main drain tests for the sprinkler system(s).
  • Notify the local fire department of any extended impairments that will be required for the above systems. It may be necessary to arrange for fire and security watch services for your building whenever protection is out of service.

Electrical Restoration Should Be Completed

  • Do not energize electrical circuits in the buildings until an electrician has checked all systems.
  • Care should be exercised around damaged power cables.
  • The electrician should notify the squad leader and utility company of all necessary repairs.
  • Electric motors, switch gear and cables should be thoroughly inspected, cleaned and dried as needed before energizing. Even if it has not been immersed, electrical equipment can absorb sufficient moisture to reduce its insulation resistance to a dangerously low level. While electrical leakage may be too small to blow fuses or trip the circuit breakers, it may be sufficient to cause overheating and fires.
  • Carefully examine all metal-clad cable, lighting sockets, receptacles, snap switches or any devices with paper or fiber insulation.

Mechanical Equipment and Systems:

  • Check all flammable liquid and gas piping systems and associated tanks for leaks or damage.
  • Steam lines and any refractory-containing equipment should be examined for wet insulation. In some cases, if insulation is contaminated, it must be stripped and restored rather than dried in place.
  • Test the water supply for boilers, process feed and cooling water, and test underground storage tank contents for contamination before use.
  • Mechanical equipment should be cleaned and dried with casings opened for inspection. Shafting should be checked for alignment and lubricating systems flushed.

Security Service:

  • Perform a continual fire watch until normal operations are resumed.
  • Verify that personnel understand how to contact outside emergency response units.
  • Provide suitable communication equipment so personnel can immediately contact emergency response units.

Familiarize personnel with any unsafe or hazardous conditions and update them with the progress of salvage operations.

The information provided in this document is intended for use as a guideline and is not intended as, nor does it constitute, legal or professional advice. Travelers does not warrant that adherence to, or compliance with, any recommendations, best practices, checklists, or guidelines will result in a particular outcome. In no event will Travelers, or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates, be liable in tort or in contract to anyone who has access to or uses this information for any purpose. Travelers does not warrant that the information in this document constitutes a complete and finite list of each and every item or procedure related to the topics or issues referenced herein. Furthermore, federal, state, provincial, municipal or local laws, regulations, standards or codes, as is applicable, may change from time to time and the user should always refer to the most current requirements. This material does not amend, or otherwise affect, the provisions or coverages of any insurance policy or bond issued by Travelers, nor is it a representation that coverage does or does not exist for any particular claim or loss under any such policy or bond. Coverage depends on the facts and circumstances involved in the claim or loss, all applicable policy or bond provisions, and any applicable law.

Read More

Contrary to public perception, earthquake preparedness is not just an issue in California. This resource from Travelers, the insurance company for MJ Sorority clients, offers tips to help protect your business before, during and after an earthquake.

Read More

This resource from Travelers, the insurance company for MJ Sorority clients, provides an overview of how sprinkler systems operate and the advantages of providing earthquake protection for them. Includes a list of protection features for sprinkler systems provides the basics.

Read More

Get information on preparing for natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, tornados, hurricanes, wildfires, etc. This resource from Travelers, the insurance company for MJ Sorority clients, discusses exposure assessment, protection, planning and preparation, response, and recovery.

Read More

A resource developed for universities from Travelers, the insurance company for MJ Sorority clients, much of which is applicable to sororities as well.

Read More

A guide developed by Travelers, the insurance company for MJ Sorority clients, to help you plan for the unexpected and explain why it is critical to do so.

Read More

A resource from Travelers, the insurance company for MJ Sorority clients, with tips for communicating with the media during a crisis or emergency.

Read More

Risk management resource geared toward college administrators, but equally applicable to sorority leadership from Travelers, insurance company for MJ Sorority clients.

Read More

Most areas of the United States are susceptible to tornadoes, but a majority of the tornadoes and severe damage typically occur east of the Rocky Mountains, particularly in the Plains states. This stretch of land is often referred to as “Tornado Alley.”

Tornadoes typically occur during the spring and summer months, but they have occurred at other times of the year, as well. More than 1,000 tornadoes are reported in the United States each year, resulting in serious property damage, injuries and deaths.

A tornado is defined as a violently rotating column of air that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground. The larger and more violent tornadoes can result in serious destruction and, at times, winds can reach speeds of 250 mph or more. Sometimes the damage from a tornado can extend up to one mile in width. Some tornadoes have been known to stay on the ground for as long as 50 miles.

Tornadoes typically develop quickly – sometimes with little or no warning. However, because tornadoes typically occur during predictable times of the year, this will allow for some preparation. In most cases, damage from a direct tornado hit cannot be avoided, but there are steps that can be taken to lessen the damage from a near miss.

Preparation Before a Tornado

Prepare a written pre-emergency plan and practice it on a routine basis, whether it is for your home, commercial occupancies, schools, etc. The following is a list of recommended items that should be put into practice and covered routinely to ensure a timely response in the event of a tornado.

  • Develop a written pre-emergency plan.
  • Conduct routine tornado drills to ensure everyone (family members, employees, students, etc.) understands and feels comfortable with the plan in the event of a real emergency.
  • Know the county/parish/town in which you live, work or go to school, and keep a highway map nearby to follow the storm movement from weather bulletins.
  • Have a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio with a warning alarm tone to receive any warnings. (This radio should have a battery backup.)
  • During tornado season, it is recommended that you stay tuned to a radio or television to keep informed of any information that may be available on any potential tornado activity in the area.
  • Before taking any trips away from your home or business, listen to the latest forecasts and take the appropriate and necessary action.
  • Take an inventory of your household and/or business items before anything happens, such as a tornado, and keep the list in a safe place.
  • Minimize yard storage and, if needed, make sure it is secured to the ground appropriately as these items may become airborne and cause additional damage.
  • Secure any small storage building that may be exterior to the main structure to reduce the possibility of being thrown into the main structure.

A Typical Tornado Drill Can Be Set Up As Follows:

  • Before running a drill
    • Prior to running any drill, make sure all employees are aware the drill will be taking place.
    • They should be aware of where the safest places are located for them to be during a tornado. The safest places would be, first, in the facility’s basement or specially designed tornado shelter, if available. If no basement is available, moving to a windowless interior room, hallway, bathroom, etc., on the facility’s lowest level is preferred
  • During the tornado drill
    • Initiate the drill using the facility’s public address system or have various pre-assigned employees alert the staff to evacuate their areas and report to the previously assigned designated areas.
    • At that point, all occupants should move to the areas pre-assigned as quickly as possible.
    • Once in the safe place, all occupants should be instructed to crouch down facing the floor as low as they can and cover their heads with their hands
    • Once all occupants have successfully evacuated their areas and are in place, the drill can be called off and the occupants can return to their respective jobs, etc.
  • Once the drill is completed
    • Assess whether additional safe areas may be required.
    • Are the safe areas too cluttered with storage, etc.? If so, housekeeping in these areas may be required.
    • Did employees take the quickest route to the designated safe areas?
    • Did the notification process run smoothly, and if not, improve notification method.

Before and During a Tornado

  • As soon as a tornado has been reported and it is obvious that danger is on its way, move all people (family members, employees, etc.) to a pre-designated shelter to sit out the tornado. The best place is generally an underground shelter or basement in the building.
  • If there is no underground shelter available at your home, business, school, etc., move the occupants to an interior room, bathroom or an interior hallway on the lowest floor and have them get under a sturdy piece of furniture or equipment. They should squat down as low as possible face first and cover their heads with their hands to provide some protection in the event of flying or falling debris.
  • It is critical to instruct all household members, employees or students to stay away from windows as they can shatter due to flying debris.
  • If you are in a vehicle, you should immediately seek shelter in a sturdy building. As a last resort, you can either: stay in the car with the seat belt on. Put your head down below the windows, covering your head with your hands and a blanket if possible, OR if you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, exit your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands. Your choice should be driven by your specific circumstances.
  • Safety professionals suggest that mobile home owners abandon their home immediately, even if the home has been tied down. Typically, mobile homes do not offer much – if any – protection from tornadoes.

Disaster Recovery – After a Tornado

Once the storm has dissipated, you should put your disaster recovery procedures into practice.

  • Account for all employees; comply with any evacuation orders.
  • Survey the site for any damage. If structural damage has occurred, bring in a structural engineer to evaluate the building.
  • Attend to hazardous material spills and other leaks and report to the appropriate agencies as required.
  • Check for downed power lines.
  • Shut down any leaking sprinkler systems; post a fire watch.
  • Activate business continuity plan.
  • Restore fire protection systems.
  • Start salvage operations.
  • Cover and secure openings in roofs and walls.
  • Use hot work permit system for repairs involving cutting and welding.

Various resources are listed below that will help in the development of a Disaster Recovery Plan.

Resources

The information provided in this document is intended for use as a guideline and is not intended as, nor does it constitute, legal or professional advice. Travelers does not warrant that adherence to, or compliance with, any recommendations, best practices, checklists, or guidelines will result in a particular outcome. In no event will Travelers, or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates, be liable in tort or in contract to anyone who has access to or uses this information for any purpose. Travelers does not warrant that the information in this document constitutes a complete and finite list of each and every item or procedure related to the topics or issues referenced herein. Furthermore, federal, state, provincial, municipal or local laws, regulations, standards or codes, as is applicable, may change from time to time and the user should always refer to the most current requirements. This material does not amend, or otherwise affect, the provisions or coverages of any insurance policy or bond issued by Travelers, nor is it a representation that coverage does or does not exist for any particular claim or loss under any such policy or bond. Coverage depends on the facts and circumstances involved in the claim or loss, all applicable policy or bond provisions, and any applicable law.

Read More