Hurricane Preparedness for Hotels
Hurricane season officially begins June 1st
Last season, NOAA updated the statistics used to determine when hurricane seasons are above, near, or below average relative to the latest climate record. Based on this update, an average hurricane season produces 14 named storms, of which 7 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes.
But we know it only takes one to spell disaster.
Hotels often provide shelter from the storm in a crisis and a safe haven for evacuees, just as many Texas hotels did after Hurricane Harvey in 2017. For this upcoming summer storm season, COVID-19 precautions also continue to be encouraged.
During hurricane season, you should regularly monitor your preparedness, from ensuring sufficient emergency supplies are maintained, train staff, updating insurance policies, and more. See our general recommendations below.
- Communications – Make sure to have a command center that includes plans for and means of communication with 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 and away from balconies.
- Responsibilities – Emergency staff should have a clear understanding of their responsibilities, from Hurricane Watch to Warnings to outside communications with government emergency operations such as FEMA.
- Checklist – Make sure you have an action checklist prepared before the storm season begins. That list should include items such as securing outside equipment, preparing windows, rooms and facilities to prevent injury.
- Inventory – Review your inventory of 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, and 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, 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 positioning 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 your area convention & visitors bureau (CVB).
- 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 property damage property or other potential losses.
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.
We send alerts and update our website with the latest, most timely crisis information. See THLA’s full emergency operations activity here.