US Virgin Islands Hotel & Tourism Association
Our Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June to Nov. and peaks between Aug. and Oct. While hurricanes pose the greatest threat to life and property, tropical storms and depressions can also be devastating. The primary hazards from tropical cyclones are storm surge flooding, inland flooding from heavy rains, destructive winds, tornadoes and high surf and rip currents. Employers can best protect themselves, their employees and their business from these hazards by conducting emergency planning for the hurricane season. Remember, few people can think clearly and logically in a crisis, so it is important to train and practice in advance.
Create a Plan: It is important to have an evacuation plan in place to ensure that workers can get to safety in case a tropical cyclone may affect the area. A thorough evacuation plan should include:
- Conditions that will activate the plan
- Chain of command
- Emergency functions and who will perform them
- Specific evacuation procedures, including routes and exits
- Procedures for accounting for personnel, customers and visitors
- Equipment for personnel
Conduct Employee Training: In addition to having evacuation plans in place, provide training for your employees to ensure that all workers know what to do in case of an emergency. It is important to be familiar with the warning terms used for hurricanes, as well as your local community’s emergency plans, warning signals and shelters. Practice evacuation plans on a regular basis and remember to update plans and procedures based on lessons learned from exercises. Show employees what disaster supply kits are (if you have them) and let them know where they are located.
Additional information on hurricane preparedness may be found at OSHA’s Preparedness webpage and the FEMA website Ready.gov.
UVICELL Safety in Paradise assists small and medium-sized employers by providing free OSHA On-Site Consultation Services. Request our FREE services at 340-693-1146 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about this free and confidential safety and health program, visit http://safety.uvi.edu/.
Also, Like US on Facebook at SafetyInParadise so you can stay in touch with the latest news regarding occupational safety and health!