Whatever part of the country your affiliate is in, severe weather can impact your operations throughout the year. Consider these statistics on severe weather from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA):

  • About 1,200 tornadoes hit the U.S. each year.
  • 100,000 thunderstorms occur each year in the U.S. and 10% reach severe levels.
  • Damaging winds are classified as those exceeding 50-60 mph.
  • In the U.S., floods kill more people each year than tornadoes, hurricanes or lightning.

Because severe weather can happen anywhere throughout the year, it is important to take the time to create a plan for any extreme weather that might come your way. Here are seven steps you can take to help prepare for an extreme weather event.

Building a severe weather plan for affiliates

Preparing for severe weather takes a combination of planning, emergency equipment, team training and exercise drills. Here are some quick tips to help you prepare:

  1. Understand your affiliate’s risks. Identify the threats specific to your affiliate’s location and the vulnerability of your property to severe weather events. For example, if your affiliate is located along a coast, you may have risk of hurricane or flood damage and those perils often require a separate insurance policy.
  2. Set up an emergency action plan. Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends including:
    • An evacuation policy
    • Emergency escape procedures and route assignments, such as workplace maps noting refuge areas
    • Names and telephone numbers of important individuals within and outside your affiliate
    • Procedures for employees or volunteers to perform or shut down operations
    • Rescue and medical duties for any workers
  3. Ensure all employee contact numbers are current so everyone can be accounted for in an emergency.
  4. Designate a severe weather shelter. Notify staff of its location and post signage for customers. If your affiliate does not have a shelter, locate a storm shelter nearby or consider sending employees and volunteers home before severe weather hits.
  5. Implement a communication system to notify employees to evacuate, take shelter or take other actions.
  6. Store originals or duplicate copies of accounting records, legal documents, your employees’ and volunteers’ emergency contact lists and other essential records in a secure location.
  7. Compile a kit to be taken into the shelter that includes:
    • Flashlights
    • Emergency blankets
    • Water
    • Gloves
    • First aid kit
    • Battery powered radio
  8. Hold training sessions and practice emergency drills with staff and volunteers to ensure everyone understands the emergency process.

Protecting your affiliate against severe weather

One important way to protect your affiliate against the risks of severe weather damage is property insurance.

This coverage can help cover your building, inventory and other property from the costs associated with damage or loss caused by weather risks like wind, hail, fire and more.

Contact Lockton Affinity, administrator of the Habitat for Humanity Affiliate Insurance Program, to learn more about insurance designed for your franchise.