​June 1, 2020, marked the beginning of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season. Forecasts indicate 2020 will be another busy year in the Atlantic. Knowing what to do before a hurricane can result in municipalities being organized and methodical in their storm preparation. This will help put operations in a better position to resume more quickly, and will protect both the assets and employees of municipalities.

Before a hurricane, take these steps to ensure as little damage as possible:

  • Remove and store all unsecured items such as chairs, planters, trash cans, pallets, signage and the like as these may become flying objects due to high winds.
  • Secure windows and doors, check roof coverings and remove items such as awnings to prevent damage. Move items away from areas where roof leaks have previously occurred.
  • To help prevent flood damage, move contents from low-lying property to property on higher ground.
  • Make sure important paperwork and equipment is moved to a safe location. Cover computers, files and other electronic equipment with plastic sheeting or other types of waterproofing. Move equipment away from windows and from the floor. Unplug electrical equipment and appliances.
  • Move vehicles and equipment out of low-lying areas. Disperse equipment to several locations to prevent a catastrophic loss at one location.
  • Keep contact information for claims staff readily available.
  • After a loss, make every effort to secure damaged property to prevent further loss. For example, secure leaking roofs with plastic or tarps, cover damaged property and take photos of the property. If the municipality must dispose of the property, please document the loss using photographs and lists describing the property. Cell phones can be used for this purpose.
  • SC Municipal Insurance and Risk Financing Fund members should be prepared to contact SCMIRF immediately after a loss to submit claims even if they are not sure of the extent. Municipalities insured with SCMIRF have 30 days after landfall to report hurricane losses.
  • Designate one person to be in charge of hurricane losses.

Municipalities in the path of a hurricane will likely see damage to municipal property. Taking these steps will result in less damage to property, faster resumption of municipal services and a safer environment for employees.