Hurricane Preparedness: What Municipalities Should Know

How Municipalities Should Prepare for Hurricanes

Having a solid emergency and continuity plan in place and a broad awareness of the elements of the plan are some of the ways local governments and public sector institutions can help mitigate a storm’s potentially devastating effect on the community.

Although natural disasters are an unstoppable force of nature, hurricane preparedness can go a long way toward reducing a storm’s impact on the community’s essential services and financial stability.

“Insurance is just one element of risk management,” says Bob Marinelli, risk control manager for Argo Group’s Trident Public Risk Solutions, a leader in the public sector insurance and risk-management marketplace.

According to Marinelli, a disaster plan should include steps to take before and after an event.

Before an event

  • Mitigate to eliminate or reduce hazards. Example: Remove or tie down objects that could blow away, becoming a threat to persons and property.
  • Prepare for personnel to act quickly and effectively. Develop call-up lists, resource lists, and stockpile supplies and equipment.

 

After an event

  • Execute response tactics. To prevent further damage or injuries, stabilize damaged facilities and retain or re-establish control to effectively deploy emergency response personnel.
  • Follow a recovery strategy. Ensure the process is orderly, phased and reasoned.

When the situation has stabilized, engage your agent and insurance carrier to help evaluate the damage and formulate a financial recovery plan. Recovery can be a long process — community leaders working together with their risk and insurance partners can ensure efforts are focused on getting the community back to business.

Ongoing preparedness measures

  • Review and update the plan at regular intervals. Emergency planning is a continuous process that includes a feedback loop. After an emergency event, hold a “lessons learned” session, and request input from all responders. Schedule regular plan reviews to make sure management and organizational leaders are clear on what to do if a hurricane — or any weather emergency — is imminent.
  • Discuss emergency communications with your staff. Electric, utility and cellular services may be impacted. Call a meeting with your staff to discuss the implementation of a command center with appropriate backup systems.
  • Test your emergency communications plan. Schedule a time to practice notifying employees during and outside business hours. That could mean sending an email or a text alert, using social media posts or testing a public address system to ensure leadership can provide critical guidance. To avoid confusion, identify the messages as a test.

Trident has public entities covered

On average, the Atlantic hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes. Is your local government prepared?

Trident offers a variety of resources when it comes to preparing for hurricanes and other disasters, including a whitepaper on the importance of continuity of operations plans.

Learn more at www.argolimited.com/trident.

Website links referenced within the content of this document may lead to other sites that Trident Insurance Service, LLC (“Trident”) believes may be useful or informative. These links to third party sites or information are not intended as, and should not be interpreted by you as, constituting or implying Trident’s endorsement, sponsorship or recommendation of the third-party information, products or services found there. Trident does not maintain or control these sites and accordingly makes no guarantee concerning the accuracy, reliability or currency of the information appearing on such sites.

Disclaimer: The insurance policies, not this article, form the contract between the insured and the insurance company. The policies contain limits, exclusions and conditions that are not listed here. All coverages are subject to individual underwriting judgments and to state legal and regulatory requirements. By providing its clients with risk-control information, Trident Public Risk Solutions does not warrant that a client will necessarily experience a reduction of its insurance risks, exposures and/or losses. This article is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Policies for this program are issued by one or more insurance companies of Argo Group International Holdings, Ltd. Trident is a registered service mark of Argo Group International Holdings, Ltd.

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