Commercial Real Estate, Capital, Insurance, Leasing & Management

Weathering the Storm Part 1: Is Your Commercial Property Prepared for Hurricane Season?

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Hurricane Season officially begins on June 1, and this year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is already predicting an above average year in terms of storm activity.

NOAA previously set the average number of named storms at 12. The agency has now updated that number to 14, based on new data. The average number of full-blown hurricanes is now 7, compared to the previous average of 6.

Also notably, although the official season doesn’t start until June, pre-season storms have become more common in recent years – last year, there were 2 – so it’s never too early to begin preparing.

As a commercial real estate owner or manager, preparedness is the key to mitigate damage to your property and ensure safety to your employees and tenants. In recognition of this week, May 9-15, being National Hurricane Preparedness Week, Franklin Street encourages our clients to take the following steps:

10 Steps to Prepare Your Commercial Real Estate Property

1. Consider installing impact-resistant film on your windows.

2. Trim surrounding trees to reduce potential of falling and windblown damages from branches.

3. Assess inventory on hand for all items that may be needed immediately post-storm (plywood, sandbags, flashlights, etc.)

4. Photograph and video the property, including the roof, to document its condition pre-storm. A roof inspection report can also be helpful to show hurricane damages post-loss if roofs are in good condition prior to loss.

5. Provide employees with a chain of command and list of responsibilities to undertake following the storm.

6. Post and distribute a list of all emergency numbers, including office and maintenance staff.

7. Gather a list of vendor contacts and telephone numbers that you would plan on contacting for services following a hurricane. We suggest determining which contractor you plan to hire for emergency mitigation and repair services well in advance.

8. Ensure you have updated addresses and emergency contact information for all employees. It’s also a good idea to gather information on where employees plan to evacuate if necessary. 

9. Prepare and distribute a hurricane preparedness guide to tenants.

10. Especially for multifamily properties, notify tenants of evacuation zones and the location of nearest official shelter. The Red Cross can tell you the nearest shelter to your community and explain the specific details on the accommodations and what items one should bring with them to a shelter. Have the route to the nearest shelter printed for distribution to your staff and residents.

From Insurance Services to Property Management, Franklin Street teams are available around the clock to help our clients through Hurricane Season. For access to more risk management materials, contact us at [email protected].

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