The Atlantic hurricane season begins on June 1; in the Pacific, it starts in mid-May. Both seasons last until the end of November.
Hurricanes are a type of tropical cyclone or severe tropical storm that occurs in the eastern Pacific Ocean (known there as typhoons), Caribbean Sea, southern Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale defines hurricane strength by categories, with Category 1 being the weakest with wind speeds between 74-95 mph and a Category 5 the strongest with wind speeds greater than 155 mph.
Hurricanes kill more people than any other type of storm and cause tremendous property damage. Obviously, the first priority is finding safety for yourself and others but it is also important to consider what you can do before and after a storm to keep your mobile office, storage container, portable classroom or modular facility safe and secure.
Statistics on Weather Disasters:
• According to the National Weather Service statistics for 2011 to 2015, tropical storms or hurricanes accounted for 28 fatalities, 58 injuries, and a total damage assessment of $891.54 million.
• In 2015, 37 out of 79 presidentially declared disasters were related to severe storms or damaging winds. (FEMA)
• The year 2005 saw the most hurricanes ever to form in a single Atlantic season with 15. One of them, Hurricane Katrina, was one of the costliest hurricanes causing damage over $100 billion. (Conserve Energy Future)
• About two major hurricanes make landfall somewhere along the Gulf or Atlantic coast every three years. (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
Taking necessary precautions before a storm hits can decrease problems caused by a major hurricane. WillScot provides a comprehensive planning guide that helps you prepare your mobile units before a hurricane, informs you of what to do after the storm subsides and how to obtain modular space in the wake of a weather emergency.
Here are some important tips from the guide:
Before the Storm
• Know your warranty: Make sure you know what items are covered in your warranty and for how long. Find out if an extended service policy is available.
• Stay secure: If your modular unit is not already anchored, contact your local WillScot office now to secure anchors and tie-downs.
• Clear it out: Trim or cut back any landscaping or trees on the surrounding property that could become a wind hazard.
• Windproof it: Protect the parts of your modular unit where wind can enter. Reinforce the exterior, paying special attention to the roof, doors, and windows.
• Get covered: Talk with your insurance carrier or call WillScot to confirm enrollment in the Insurance Waiver Program. In many cases, standard property insurance policies specifically exclude flood coverage; however the National Flood Insurance Program was designed to reduce the costs of disasters and can make federally-backed flood insurance available to business owners. As an added precaution, remove valuable materials and documents from the unit.
After the Storm
If you already lease mobile space:
• Stay clear: If the unit sustained damage, don’t return to any unit that is unstable.
• Report any damage: Once you’ve determined the unit needs repairs or maintenance, contact the service team to assist you as soon as possible. Don’t attempt to make any repairs yourself.
• Protect the unit: Attempt to protect the property from any additional damage. Hurricane damage is not considered “normal wear and tear”, so any necessary repairs to the unit are your financial responsibility. Services completed by WillScot service personnel and authorized vendors carry a full warranty within the scope of “normal wear and tear.”
• Protect yourself: While performing any clean-up or repairs be sure to wear protective gear, including hard hats, goggles, and gloves. If electrical circuits and equipment have gotten wet or are in or near water, turn off the power and the main breaker or fuse on the service panel. Do not turn the power back on until electrical equipment has been inspected by a qualified electrician.
• Plan ahead: Ensure you have been budgeted funds to cover proper maintenance. Ask us to advise you as to what maintenance tasks should be completed and the recommended frequency.
If you require mobile space after a hurricane:
Because modular space can be quickly procured, WillScot is an excellent resource if your existing offices, schools, or other facilities were damaged or destroyed during a hurricane. Our mobile/relocatable units, section modular units and storage containers provide reliable solutions for relief efforts, temporary shelter or during rebuilding.
Planning ahead is critical. As a modular solutions provider, we attempt to do everything possible to ensure the safety of the units, but once a storm is on its way, it can sometimes be too late.