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Prepare Your Business Annually Before Hurricane Season

The Atlantic hurricane season runs June 1 through November 30.  A combination of winds, winddriven rain, surge, and power outages from a hurricane can cause damage to your business.  

Start Annual Business Prep!

Every year, use these steps to prepare your business ahead of hurricane season to help reduce potential damage. These annual maintenance activities will help you be Hurricane Ready!

Business Hurricane Prep & Upgrades 
Annual maintenance tips and upgrades to help protect your business.


1. Assess your exposure & create an emergency business response and continuity plan.

Having a hurricane plan helps ensure the safety of you and your employees. A plan enables you to make time-sensitive decisions, communicate clearly, safeguard important equipment and documents, and proactively implement measures to prevent damage to your business. 

  • Assess your exposure. 
    • Conduct a risk assessment to identify vulnerability of your facilities, identify critical assets and operational functions that could be affected. 
    • Look up your property on your local flood map by visitingFEMA’s Flood Map Service Centeror by contacting your city or county government to understand your flood risk. Note: Flooding can occur outside of high-risk flood areas. 
    • Know thebase flood elevation(BFE)for your property and determine whether the elevation of your building’s lowest floor is above or below the BFE. All electrical and mechanical equipment and connections should be placed at least 3 ft above the BFE.

Remember: Return periods are just probabilities. A “1 in 100-year event” does NOT mean it happens once every 100 years; it means there is a 1% chance every year that this type of event could happen. 

  • Create a business continuity severe weather plan. 
    • Establish an emergency response team responsible for developing and implementing the business continuity plan. 
    • Compile a list of emergency contacts, including fire, police, tree services, utility companies, and your insurance agent. 
    • Determine who is responsible for last-minute preparations when severe weather is in the forecast. 
    • Define procedures and communication protocols for employees and customers before, during and after an event. Develop procedures for sharing updates and emergency procedures. 
    • Implement an IT data backup and recovery system off-site or utilize a cloud-based location. 
    • Identify alternate facilities or workspaces where your business could operate in case the primary location becomes inaccessible. 
    • Develop an employee support plan. The plan may include guidelines for remote work and resources for mental health. 
    • Conduct regular training and simulation drills. 
Businesswoman making notes looking at a laptop computer at office. Woman entrepreneur sitting at the table writing notes while working on laptop.

2) Stay informed. Ensure 3 ways to receive weather alerts.

A hurricane can knock out power and disrupt communications. Having multiple ways to receive alerts helps keep you informed throughout the storm. 

  • Find a reliable source for hurricane updates. Pay attention to hurricane forecasts from the National Hurricane Center (NHC). Follow the NHC on Facebook or X and tune in to local news often. For impacts to your local area, follow your local National Weather Service (NWS) office. 
  • Purchase a NOAA weather radio, preferably one with a hand crank.  
  • Enable wireless emergency alerts on your cell phone. Check your wireless service provider’s website to find out how to do this for your specific phone type. 

Note: Geographical maps are used to communicate critical weather information. Know where you are on a map and know your county name. 

2- 3_Ways Warnings

3) Review your insurance and document your inventory and equipment.

If your building is damaged and you need to file a claim, you will likely have to itemize losses for your insurance company. Documenting your belongings is easier before a disaster happens. 

  • Know what your insurance covers and what it doesn’t. 
  • Keep your insurance agent’s contact information in your phone and accessible offsite. 
  • Complete an inventory list of your commercial property. Include photo documentation of the property highlighting the building components, equipment, and inventory. Store it somewhere safely offsite and in the cloud. 

NOTE: All do-it-yourself guidance outlined is to be completed under safe operating conditions. If fall protection is not available, it is best to hire a licensed and insured contractor. 

Businessman talking on smartphone and working in office. African male architect sitting at his workplace.

Choose Your Roof Type

Low-slope (Flat) roof
4) Inspect and repair your low-slope commercial roof

A roof in need of maintenance or repair is more vulnerable to damage during high winds and can more easily fail during a hurricane. Long-term standing water can speed up aging and degradation, causing your roof membrane to become brittle. Standing water can also cause mold growth.Improperly secured roof-mounted equipment can slide or become airborne in high-winds, damaging a roof or worse. Water leaking into your building through a damaged roof cover can cause a cascade of damage to your roof assembly (insulation), ceilings, walls, floors and even your equipment and inventory, ultimately causing business downtime!  

  • Low-slope (flat) roof guidelines 
    • A roof inspection should occur at least twice a year and after storms, high winds, or heavy rain. 
    • Remove all debris (vegetation, trash, and/or loose equipment) on the roof and under roof-mounted equipment.  
    • After any service is performed on the roof, re-inspect equipment to make sure all screws, cables and straps are tightened and back in place, and no debris is left behind. 
  • Inspect your roofcover 
    • Age of roof: All roof covers age depending on the material used, quality of the roofing, routine maintenance, site specific conditions (i.e. environment, salt water/chemical exposure) and the weather endured. 
    • Single-ply membrane: tears or punctures, gaps, worn seams or seam failure, fasteners backing out, and brittleness along with unique issues to assess below:  
      • Fully-adhered membrane is glued directly to the insulation boards, which are secured to the metal deck below. Look for unadhered portions of the membrane and blisters. 
      • Mechanically attached membrane is rolled onto the insulation and screwed into the metal deck below. The seams are then fused using a heat welder or bonding adhesive, or they are taped. Check seams and fasteners backing out.  
    • Built-up and modified bitumen: bubbles/blisters, cracks, excessive wear around connections, tears, punctures and missing protective coatings for built–up roofs with embedded gravel or smooth surface.    
    • Sprayed polyurethane foam: excessive weathering, tears, or punctures,which causes a loss of the acrylic coating and brittleness.    
    • Metal panels: dents/divots, loose screws, deteriorated rubber washers, discolored or worn off paint, which acts as an anti-rust layer, and for signs of rusting. 
  • Secure metal-edge flashing 
    • Visually inspect flashing for: 
      • Signs of deterioration like rust 
      • Bending fascia (waviness) 
      • Unattached fascia 
    • Physically inspect flashing for: 
      • Watertight roof cover membrane transition from the top flange of the flashing to the roof cover 
      • Physically pull the bottom flange of the fascia to check for loose bottom edge. 
    • Check the securement of perimeter flashing to the building. 
    • Hire a license contractor to properly secure or replace the flashing. 
  • Secure and inspect roof-mounted equipment 
    • Check mechanical units for rust on metal panels and screws. Ensure service panels have all fasteners in place so panels do not become dislodged.   
    • Inspect all roof-mounted equipment at the curb for loose connection to the curb or rusted flashing, curb leaks, and curbing rot from water damage. 
    • Ensure air conditioning condensers and similar equipment are secured with straps fastened to the stand, curb, or roof deck.  
      • Ensure secure cables and straps. Pull on them; there should be little to no slack. Check manufacturer guidelines for more specific information. 
    • PV Panels:  
      • Check for rust on the framing and screws. Ensure all panels are properly attached to the racking system. 
      • Ensure a secure attachment to the structure and proper waterproofing.  
    • Ballasted systems are NOT recommended in hurricane-prone regions. If your building has this roof cover, ensure the blocks are securely anchored to the tray and strapped or bolted together (for both mechanical units and PV). 
  • Check roof hatch and skylights 
    • Check roof hatches for: 
      • Loose hardware (like bolts, nuts, or screws). 
      • Flashing; seal around any cracks or leaks. 
      • Curb securement. 
    • Inspect skylights for: 
      • Securement to the curb and curb securement to the roof. 
      • Cracks in the seal, leaks, and any rotting wood.   
      • Signs of hail damage. 
  • Inspect lightning protection 
    • Check for loose rods and cables by gently pulling on the securements and conductor poles; there should be little to no slack. 
    • If a new cable connector is required, install a closed loop connector rather than a conventional 3-prong connector. If the metal conductor cable becomes loose from its securement, the wind can drag or slam it against a roof membrane. 
  • Inspect roof drainage systems, gutters, and downspouts 
    • Inspect gutters and downspouts to ensure they’re secured to the building by gutter straps. 
    • Clear all roof drains, gutters, and downspouts of tree debris. 
    • Ensure downspouts divert water at least 3 feet away from the foundation. 
    • Check for long-term standing water that is not due to a blockage and ensure gutter is properly sloped to the downspout.Hire a licensed contractor if the gutter is not properly sloped.
Fragment of the roof of a commercial building with an external unit of the commercial air conditioning and ventilation systems.

Steep-slope (Flat) roof
4) Inspect and repair your steep-slope commercial roof

A roof in need of repair is more vulnerable to high winds and its condition can worsen in a hurricane. Water leaking into your building can cause a cascade of water damage to your roof, ceilings, walls, floors and even your equipment and inventory, ultimately causing business downtime!  

  • Have your roof inspected by a trusted and licensed roofing company that will look for the following:
  • Note: A roof inspection should occur at least twice a year and after any severe storms, high winds, or heavy rain.  
    • Roof cover condition 
      • Asphalt shingles: look for curling, loose (unsealed), missing and/or torn shingles.   
      • Clay, concrete, and slate tiles: look for cracked, missing, and/or unattached tiles.   
      • Metal panels: look for dents/divots, loose screws, deteriorated rubber washers, sealants/caulks, discolored or worn-off paint (which acts as an anti-rust layer), and/or signs of rusting. 
    • Vents, skylights, and chimneys  
      • Vents: look for loose seals, rusted or deteriorated parts.  
      • Skylights: Look for signs of water intrusion, loose or wavy flashing around skylights, and cracks or damage to the window itself. 
      • Chimneys: Check for leaking around the flashing and/or missing mortar. 
    • Roof valleys/seams 
      • Check for leaks from roof valleys or the seams from the bottom of your roof deck.   
      • Remove debris such as leaves and dirt that builds up in valleys and against dormers.  
Man caulking ridge vent on new addition

5) Check and clear your gutters, downspouts, and drains.

Water that does not properly drain off your roof and away from your structure can leak into your building, causing costly interior water and structural damage. Clogged gutters can back up and allow water to damage roof decking and fascia.  

  • Ensure gutters and downspouts are secured to the building with gutter straps. 
  • Clean all gutters, downspouts, and drains free of tree debris. 
  • Ensure downspouts divert water at least 3 feet away from the foundation. 
Contractor hands repair, install rain gutter downspout pipe. Rain Chain Drainage. Guttering Down pipe Fittings

6) Seal the building envelope.

Hurricanes produce wind-driven rain, and any unsealed opening in your building can then allow water and wind to enter the structure.  

  • Caulk and seal any cracks or gaps around wall penetrations, windows and door frames on your building’s exterior using silicone caulk. 
  • Add weatherstripping as needed to seal around operable doors and windows, making sure you cannot see any daylight from inside the building. 
  • Seal any cracks or gaps around inoperable windows and use sealants compatible with adjacent building materials. Note: In some cladding and/or storefront systems, there are weeps intended to stay open which should not be caulked.
Close-up Of Person Hands Applying Silicone Sealant With Caulking Gun

7) Conduct preventative maintenance on commercial doors.

During a hurricane, large commercial doors, including overhead, roll-up, and sectional, are susceptible to high winds that can push them in and allow pressure to push up on your roof. When they fail, they act as damage amplifiers. Inward and outward forces will find a weak link and cause the door to fail leading to water intrusion, damage of building contents and increased pressures on the roof.  

Know your commercial door(s). 

  • Ensure you have the right commercial door(s) for your geographical location. Check for a label that may say what the wind rating of the door is to determine the minimum wind speed (MPH) your door must meet or exceed. If you do not have the correct door for your location, it should be replaced with the correct wind-rated door. Check out the Building Upgrades page, to know what to look for when purchasing a new wind-rated commercial door. 

Conduct a visual inspection regularly. 

  • Is all the hardware tight? 
      • Inspect the track assembly to be sure it’s properly attached to the wall tightly. Ensure it’s not damaged and has all bolts in place with none of them broken, damaged or rusted. 
      • Inspect the door tracks. Tracks are considered weak if you can rotate them in a twisting motion. Look at the tires on the rollers and ensure they are straight and tight on the axle. 
      • Inspect the spring counterbalance assembly. It should look lubricated, and all springs should appear unbroken. Ensure the cables are not frayed or worn. 


Conduct an operational test. 

  • Open the door and then close it all the way.  
    • Make sure there are no major dents, damage, warping and/or rusting.  
    • Does the door system run smoothly. When the door opens fully, does it drift back into the opening a little bit? 
    • When the door is closed, does it close firmly without any gaps? 
    • Inspect weather-stripping for wear or damage.  
    • Ensure the reversing is working properly by starting the close cycle: 
      • Reverse bottom edge: bump the bottom with your hands as it’s shutting – it should reverse back up.  
      • Photo eyes: place a box or object in front of the eye beam as it’s shutting – it should reverse back up. 
  • Contact a licensed contractor to make repairs and improvements as necessary. 
Hangar exterior with rolling gates. 3d illustration

8) Maintain landscaping and secure outdoor items.

During high winds, trees with branches near or overhanging your building can damage the roof cover, wall cladding, and windows. Unsecured awnings, large planters, wooden pallets, inventory, and other large items can become flying debris.

  • Keep all tree limbs trimmed and away from your building. Hire an arborist to remove branches that overhang the structure and remove any dead, dying, or diseased trees. 
  • Pay particular attention to trees within falling distance of overhead power lines leading into the property.  
  • Ensure building signage and any awnings are securely fastened to the building with all bolts or screws intact and are free from rust. 
  • Keep large items that are not typically used every day anchored or placed in a shed or storage area indoors. 
Arborist cutting branches with chainsaw. Action shot, visible saw dust.

9) Service your generator.

The time to maintain a generator is well before a landfalling hurricane as power may go out (when professional assistance may be unavailable, power lines are down, and access roads are blocked). 


  • Permanent generators should have a proper maintenance plan that includes weekly, monthly, and annual checks. See the manufacturer’s specifications for more information.   
  • Run the unit weekly on its maintenance plan to ensure it is properly functioning in case of an emergency. Individual units may have a timer that allows a programmed test to be scheduled. Qualified personnel should oversee these scheduled weekly tests.   
  • Check the generator enclosure for loose debris or other conditions that could cause the unit to not function properly.   


  • Ensure you store the unit in a dry location.  
  • Set up a maintenance schedule for your specific model by checking the owner’s manual, which should tell you: 
    • How often to check and change the oil. 
    • When to replace the spark plug and air filter, including when to clean the spark arrestor screen. 
    • How often to conduct periodic test runs for the unit. 
Diesel Generator for Office Building connected to the Control Panel with Cable Wire. Backup Generator Power.

Annual Business Hurricane Prep

office building

These annual maintenance activities will help reduce potential property damage. 

Building Upgrades

Veracruz Mexico

If you’re renovating, re-roofing, or building new, consider these upgrades to make your business stronger against hurricanes. 

Crucial Steps Before a Hurricane

Thick dark black heavy storm clouds covered summer sunset sky horizon. Gale speed wind blowing over blurry coconut palm tree before Norwesters Kalbaishakhi Bordoisila thunderstorm torrential rain.

When a storm is approaching landfall, follow these last-minute actions to help reduce damage to your business. 

After A Damaging Hurricane

Town street with scattered debris after hurricane Ian in Florida. Consequences of natural disaster.

These steps will guide you through the process to recover quickly.