Preparing Your Business: After the Storm
Re-entry | Safety checklist | generators | repairs | Water precautions | Clean-up precautions
After a disaster, your business may be without power, water, food or any of the services we rely on. Immediate response may not be possible, so residents and businesses must be prepared to be self-reliant for several weeks. See FPL’s power restoration process for more information.
- Be patient. Access to affected areas will be controlled. You won’t be able to return to your facility until search and rescue operations are complete and safety hazards, such as downed trees and power lines, are cleared. It may take up to three days for emergency crews to reach your area. It may take 2-4 weeks before utilities are restored. On barrier islands, it could take much longer.
- Stay tuned to your local radio station for advice and instructions about emergency medical aid, food and other forms of assistance.
- Security operations will include checkpoints. It will be critical for you and your employees to have valid identification with your current local address as well as something to prove your employment and need to get back into the area. It is recommended that businesses contact the county emergency management agency and local jurisdiction to determine what specifically would be required.
- Avoid driving. Roads will have debris that will puncture your tires. Don’t add to the congestion of relief workers, supply trucks, law enforcement, etc.
- Avoid downed or dangling utility wires. Metal fences may have been “energized” by fallen wires. Be especially careful when cutting or clearing fallen trees. They may have power lines tangled in them.
- Beware of snakes, insects or animals driven to higher ground by floods.
- Enter your home with caution. Open windows and doors to ventilate and dry your facility.
- Check for water damage.
- Be sure it is safe to receive power; here’s what to look for to avoid injury/damage.
- If there has been flooding, have an electrician inspect your office before turning on the breaker.
- Be careful with fire. Do not strike a match until you are sure there are no breaks in gas lines. Avoid candles. Use battery-operated flashlights and lanterns instead.
- Use your telephone only for emergencies to keep lines open for emergency communications.
- Fueled by gas, generators can run appliances and fans.
- Sizes range from 750 watts that will run a fan and a light up to 8,000 watts that will practically run a house (except for the air conditioner).
- If you have lost power, don’t connect a portable generator to building wiring (this could injure or kill neighbors or electrical crews).
- Plug equipment, computers, etc., directly into the generator.
- Place generator outdoors or in a well-ventilated area. Don’t forget to check the oil every time you add gas. Conserve fuel by alternative appliances. For example, refrigerators can be kept cool by supplying power eight hours a day. Refrigerators require 400-1,000 watts.
- More detailed generator safety tips.
- Make temporary repairs to correct safety hazards and minimize further damage. This may include covering holes in the roof, walls or windows and debris removal.
- Protect yourself from contractor fraud! Only hire licensed contractors to do repairs. Check with the local Building Department to ensure the contractor is licensed. If you hire a contractor
- Don’t pull the permits for them. If the contractor makes this request, it may be an indication that he is not properly licensed.
- Take photographs of all damage before repairs and keep receipts for insurance purposes.
- After assessing damage to your facility, contact your local building department for information on required building permits. Permits are always required for any kind of demolition or permanent repairs, reconstruction, roofing, filling and other types of site development. Report illegal flood plain development to your local building department.
- Local ordinances do not permit dumping in drainage canals or ditches because it causes backups and overflow in the system. Report illegal dumping.
Whenever widespread flooding occurs, there is a potential for bacterial contamination. Bacteria, such as shigella and salmonella, can lead to life threatening dehydration for people if untreated by antibiotics. Disinfect any tap water you drink or use for cooking or cleaning. You must purify the tap water until officials notify you of its safety.
- Bring water to a rolling boil for a full 10 minutes or use chemicals (eight drops of chlorine bleach or iodine per gallon) or water purification tablets, as directed.
- Let the water sit at least 10 minutes before using.
- Water you saved in clean containers before the storm will be fine for 2-3 weeks. To be sure, add two drops of chlorine or iodine per gallon before drinking.
- Call professionals to remove large, uprooted trees, etc.
- Always use proper safety equipment such as heavy gloves, safety goggles, heavy boots, light- colored long-sleeve shirts and long pants.
- Tie back long hair, wear a hat and sunscreen.
- Drink plenty of fluids, rest and ask for help when you need it.
- Lift with the legs, not with the back.
- Don’t burn trash.
- If you can’t identify it, don’t touch it.
- Be extremely careful with a chain saw.