Catastrophe & Disaster Planning

An important part of disaster preparation is checking your insurance policy to be sure your coverage adequately addresses your current needs.

  • Have you recently reviewed the values of the property covered?
  • Does your policy cover damage from the peril of windstorms?

As for the rest of your storm preparation, we've put together some tips to help protect your business, organization or family:

Prepare Your Business
Catastrophe planning ahead of time can help minimize the impact a disaster has on any given business. Having a structured, and formalized, Disaster Plan for your business is vital. Plan ahead - talk to your employees, and protect your investment.

  • Carefully assess how your company functions, both internally and externally, to determine which staff, materials, procedures and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep the business operating.
  • Identify operations critical to survival and recovery, and how to maintain those during a disaster.
  • Make sure your staff knows what to do, and who to contact in case of severe weather.
  • Plan what you will do if your building, plant or store is not accessible:
    • Consider if you can run the business from a different location or from your home.
    • Develop relationships with other companies to use their facilities in case a disaster makes your location unusable.
  • Learn about programs, services, and resources at U.S. Small Business Administration.
  • Learn about the emergency plans that have been established in your area by local government. (Disaster Preparedness Information for Business)
  • In any emergency, always listen to the instructions given by local emergency management officials.

Prepare Your Home

  • Have a way to cover all of your home's windows (pre-cut ply wood or hurricane shutters) to protect your windows from high winds.
  • Plan to secure outside objects, and if possible, have a place to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
  • Keep all trees and shrubs well trimmed so they are more wind resistant.
  • Know how to turn off utilities and propane tanks
  • Ensure a clean area for a supply of water for sanitary purposes (cleaning and flushing toilets). Plan to fill the bathtub or have other other large containers with water

During a hurricane or tropical storm, heavy rains and catastrophic winds can barrel through coastal areas and severely damage or destroy homes and businesses. To help you plan and remain safe during these potentially deadly storms, let's discuss the top 3 preparendess tips...

Step 1: Get a Kit
Pack an Emergency Supply Kit or a "to-go bag". You may want to prepare a portable kit and keep it in your car. This kit should include:

  • Bedding and clothing, including sleeping bags and pillows
  • Bottled water, a battery-operated radio and extra batteries, a first aid kit, a flashlight
  • Maps of the area and a copy of your emergency contacts
  • Copies of important documents: driver’s license, Social Security card, proof of residence, insurance policies, wills, deeds, birth and marriage certificates, tax records, insurance policies, photos of your family (including pets), etc.
  • Unique family needs such as copies of prescription medications, pet supplies, infant supplies or any other need your family may have

Step 2: Make a Plan

  1. Prepare your family: Make a Family Emergency Plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency. Plan places where your family will meet, both within and outside of your immediate neighborhood. You may also want to inquire about emergency plans at places where your family spends time: work, daycare and school. If no plans exist, consider volunteering to help create one.
  2. Plan to Evacuate: Identify ahead of time where your family will meet, both within and outside of your immediate neighborhood. Identify several places you could go in an emergency, a friend's home in another town, a motel or public shelter.
  3. Plan your Transportation: If you have a car, keep a half tank of gas in it at all times in case you need to evacuate. If you do not have a car, plan alternate means of evacuating.
  4. Take your Emergency Supply Kit.
  5. Plan how you will care for your pets in an emergency: Take your pets with you, but understand that only service animals may be permitted in public shelters.
  6. Take a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) class. Keep your training current.

Step 3: Be Informed
Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify a hurricane, and the best sources of weather-related news to check during a storm.

  • hurricane watch means a hurricane is possible in your area. Be prepared to evacuate. Monitor local radio and television news outlets or listen to NOAA Weather Radio for the latest developments.
  • hurricane warning is when a hurricane is expected in your area. If local authorities advise you to evacuate, leave immediately
  • Hurricanes are classified into five categories based on their wind speed, central pressure, and damage potential. Category Three and higher hurricanes are considered major hurricanes, though Categories One and Two are still extremely dangerous and warrant your full attention.

Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale:

Scale # (Category) Sustained Winds (MPH)


Storm Surge
1 74-95 Minimal: Unanchored mobile homes, vegetation and signs. 4-5 feet
2 96-110 Moderate: All mobile homes, roofs, small crafts, flooding. 6-8 feet
3 111-130 Extensive: Small buildings, low-lying roads cut off. 9-12 feet
4 131-155 Extensive: Small buildings, low-lying roads cut off.

13-18 feet


More than 155

Extensive: Small buildings, low-lying roads cut off. Greater than 18 feet


Hurricanes can produce widespread torrential rains. Floods are the deadly and destructive result. Slow moving storms and tropical storms moving into mountainous regions tend to produce especially heavy rain. Excessive rain can trigger landslides or mud slides, especially in mountainous regions. Flash flooding can occur due to intense rainfall. Flooding on rivers and streams may persist for several days or more after the storm.

Are you aware that most home and business insurance policies do not automatically cover you for flood losses? Floods can represent a significant threat to your home or commercial building, as well as your valuables. Call us today about securing Flood Insurance protection. With flood insurance coverage, you can rest assured that your valued assets will be replaced should you experience a devastating flood.

What Does Flood Insurance Cover?
A standard insurance policy does not cover damages from flooding. A separate Flood policy is needed to cover losses to your property caused by flooding, which provides coverage for things such as:

  • Structural damage
  • Furnace, water heater and air conditioner
  • Flood debris clean up
  • Floor surfaces (carpeting and tile)

You can also purchase a Flood Insurance policy to cover the contents of your home, such as furniture, collectibles, clothing, jewelry and artwork.

Stay Protected
Flood Insurance means you’ll be reimbursed for all of your covered losses. Plus, unlike federal aid, it never has to be repaid. As long as your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), you’re eligible to purchase Flood Insurance.

In general, a policy does not take effect until 30 days after you purchase flood insurance. So, if the weather forecast announces a flood alert for your area and you want to purchase coverage, it’s already too late. You will not be insured if you buy a policy a few days before a flood. However, if your lender requires flood insurance in connection with the making, increasing, extending or renewing of your loan, there is no waiting period.

Before a Flood - Preparation tips
Read more about the Flood Insurance Act

Important Links...

National Flood Insurance Program -
Federal Emergency Management Agency -
FEMA's Flood Insurance Information -


General Emergency Preparation Information & Articles