If you are a Florida roofer, chances are that your phone is already ringing about Hurricane Dorian. The hurricane is more than four days from impact, and panic has already begun. From empty shelves where water and bread once sat in the grocery store to long lines at the gas pumps, Floridians have started to prepare (as of 08/29/19), and so should you and your business.
As of the latest forecast (source: Weather Channel 11:00am, 08/29/19), Hurricane Dorian is expected to strengthen to a Category 4 before hitting land (somewhere in Florida) on Labor Day (Monday 09/02/19). As most hurricane veterans are aware, this forecast is likely to change quite a bit over the next few days, but as a roofer, you should be watching it closely and preparing as if it were coming right at you and your open jobs. After all, roofers serve somewhat of a first responder role when it comes to property damage, and once the storm passes, phones will be ringing. Will you and your crews be ready to respond? Here are a few steps you can take to prepare you and your business for the upcoming hurricane and post-hurricane demand:
- Gas Up – By now, your trucks and fleet should have fuel topped off. Additionally, any reserve canisters/tanks should be filled. In order to get out to your job sites and calls, you will need your trucks to be ready, and with the chance of gas stations being depleted at that time, you don’t want to take any risks. From a safety perspective, all gasoline should be safely stored. Check out the safety guidelines from Exxon on gasoline storage, and use only approved metal or plastic gasoline containers.
- Prepare Job Sites – This one goes without saying, but it is still something that every roofer and construction professional should be reminded of prior to severe weather conditions entering the area. Beyond closing open roofs, any equipment, tools, materials and machinery should be removed from all job sites. Loose objects and materials become major hazards with heavy wind, and in order to keep your clients safe (and lower your liability), your property should be removed from your clients’ properties.
- Prepare Crews – From your employees to your subcontractors, now is the time to confirm their availability and readiness post-hurricane. First and foremost, you should have a system for everyone checking in and reporting their safety status. Down power lines and trees may prevent them from getting to where they need to be in a timely manner. This system should factor in potential power outages, satellite/internet interruption, as well as the distance between locations; it can be as simple as a call-in system, phone/call tree, and/or a form that everyone fills out in advance.
- Prepare Clients – 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:
More resources can be found online, including helpful tools for getting safety on the radar of your crews and customers. The bottom line: Prepare for the worst and stay hopeful for a positive outcome. There really is no such thing as being too safe or preparing too much, so take your time getting all of your clients, crews, properties and documents in order. With the storm following a weekend, there will be a little extra time to take the appropriate steps and be ready for meeting the upcoming demand both professionally and safely.
To learn more about how Brauner Safety Services can prepare your crews with proper safety training, including CPR and First Aid and the latest OSHA 10 and OSHA 30 now offered in English and Spanish, contact Brauner Safety Services.