Hurricane season officially began June 1st.
While initial forecasts predict an ‘average’ season this year, with an outlook of 13 named storms, we well know it only takes one to spell disaster.
Hotels often provide shelter from the storm in a crisis and a safe haven for evacuees, as many Texas hotels did after Harvey in 2017.
During hurricane season you should regularly monitor your preparedness, from emergency supplies to staff training to insurance and more. See our general recommendations below. See THLA’s more detailed Government Agency Preparations here.
- Communications – Make sure to have a command center, that includes plans for and means of communications for both staff and guests, including backups for cell and phone service outages. Prepare flyers for guests on safety procedures such as staying inside or off balconies.
- Responsibilities – Emergency staff should have a clear understanding of their responsibilities, from Hurricane Watch to Warnings to outside communications with government emergency operations (FEMA).
- Checklist – Make sure you have an action checklist that should include items such as securing outside equipment, preparing windows, rooms and facilities to prevent injury.
- Inventory – Review all emergency supplies and equipment
- Evacuation – Be prepared with a guest evacuation plan. Also, prepare vital hotel documents and equipment for possible evacuation. Arrange for any possible transportation needs in advance.
- Housekeeping – Pull drapes, move furniture, have plenty of blankets on hand, fill bathtubs with water.
- Kitchen – Plan food storage for perishables and prepare for accommodating guests and evacuees.
- Engineering – Secure facility, turn off water, gas, and electricity as necessary, obtain additional fuel for portable generators, start and check portable generators and electrical service at a predetermined time.
- Recreational Activities – Consider ways to keep guests, especially those with children, occupied during a possible prolonged event.
- Pets – Many evacuees may also seek shelter with their pets. Consider a plan to accommodate guest’s or evacuee’s fur families.
- Security – Consider posting security at exits. Utilize security cameras for monitoring the event and for guest and staff safety.
- Sales: Notify incoming groups and guests with reservations of hurricane status, notify all tour operators and receptive operators, and notify Convention & Visitors Bureau.
- Keep a log – maintain records of activities for accounting, insurance, and liability issues.
- Pre-loss risk assessment – Perform a risk assessment before the event to be prepared for the high costs of repairs.
- Insurance Coverage – Contact your insurance provider who should provide you with a checklist of things they suggest to minimize the risk of damage property or loss of any kind.
Always know, when a disaster such as a major hurricane affects Texas, Texas Hotel & Lodging Association steps into the role of providing important, timely, and helpful information to hotel operators; local, state, and federal governmental agencies; the traveling public; and the news media.