Preparing a Hotel for a Hurricane
After living in South Florida for over 25 years, we have been through several Hurricanes and threatening weather storms. The truth is that Hurricane preparedness is part of daily life for a Floridian. When it comes to a hotel, not only do you have to worry about yourself but all the guests and staff who will be effected by it as well. With the recent tragedy of Category 5 Hurricane Irma, we thought we’d share a few tips from our Emergency Procedure on preparing for a Hurricane.
There are essentially five stages of preparedness for hurricane season that are pre-season, pre-storm, during the storm, after the storm, and post season. There a several action steps during each of these five stages that we do to prepare for Hurricane season and specific storm threats. Here are a few highlights of our hurricane prep for our hotels.
Pre-Season: Have an inventory stock of essentials before Hurricane season hits. One of the biggest issues prior to Hurricane Irma was the rush of people to buy all the items they needed to survive should the worst happen. Simple things like water, non-perishables and batteries flew off the shelves in a matter of days and the retailers couldn't keep up. Having a stock at the beginning of the season saves the anxiety to get these items together and grants you time to get your staff & guests prepared.
Pre-Storm: The condition of the exterior of your hotel can make a huge impact on your asset after the storm. Make sure your landscaping is well kept and any limbs that could be hazardous in high wind should be removed. Hotels built after the early 2000s have adapted newer codes that make them more storm resistant, but if you have an older building you may consider boarding your windows. You'll also want to have your gutters cleaned to ensure proper drainage. Most Florida hotels have outdoor pools and the furniture needs to be secure by either moving inside or you can simply toss into the pool during the storm.
During the storm: Book rooms for employees and their families. It first and foremost ensures their safety during the storm. Secondly, having your staff on property helps keep the operations running.
After the storm: Prepare to lose power. Hurricane Irma's largest impact post-storm to Southwest Florida was the loss of power. Several days after the Hurricane Irma hit Florida there were still thousands of people without power in their personal homes. Having cordless charges, radios, water and other essentials will get you through these arduous time.
Post Season: Reflect and rework. Not every natural disaster is the same so reflect on the things your learned and how you can implement and better your procedures in the future.
These are only a few of several steps from our Hurricane Preparedness procedure. Overall the most important thing to do is be calm, smart and prepared! Hurricanes and other acts of mother nature do happen. It's our job to make sure we keep our hospitality promise and ensure our guests are safe and have the best stay possible.