Start Hurricane Preparations Now

Employers should get ready for Hurricane Florence's arrival

Kathy Gurchiek By Kathy Gurchiek September 11, 2018

Story updated 11:31 a.m. Sept. 13.

As Hurricane Florence—downgraded from a Category 4 to a Category 2 storm—appears headed toward the southeastern U.S., the governors of South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia have declared states of emergency. 

The North and South Carolilna coasts can expect winds up to 80 mph by late today, according to various news outlets. Evacuations of coastal North Carolina began at noon Monday and there were mandatory evacuations in some South Carolina counties. "Deadly storm surges, mammoth coastal flooding and historic rainfall expected far inland" make the hurricane "extremely dangerous," CNN reported. 

Now is the time for employers in the path of the storm to start preparations and work with employees to make sure everyone stays safe.

South Carolina's northern coast and North Carolina's Outer Banks are expected to take the most direct hit if the hurricane keeps to the current forecast, according to news outlets. The storm could cause an estimated $15.32 billion in damage. Residents in its path are being warned to gather supplies or evacuate, the Weather Channel reported. 

Emergency personnel and employers are also keeping an eye on Hurricane Olivia—which forecasters say may weaken in intensity to a tropical storm, which is expected to hit Hawaii as soon as Tuesday.

SHRM Online has collected the following articles from its archives and other news outlets on how employers can deal with natural disasters.  

Hurricane Preparedness and Response 

Some businesses must have an Emergency Action Plan and evacuation strategy to make sure workers can get to safety in case a hurricane strikes the area. Employers should know the warning terms used for hurricanes, as well as their local community's emergency plans, warning signals, and shelters. 
(U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration)  

FEMA Hurricane Preparedness Digital Toolkit Template
Employers can customize this letter from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to communicate with employees about preparing for the hurricane and its impact, and reminding them of trusted sources of information. (FEMA

Employee Leave Eligibility and Natural Disasters
Hurricanes and other natural disasters raise questions about leave-taking under the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. (SHRM Online

Despite 2017 Hurricane Season, U.S. Lacks 'Culture of Preparedness,' Says FEMA Administrator 
FEMA Administrator Brock Long has warned that the United States doesn't have a "culture of preparedness," even after being hammered in 2017 by Harvey, Irma and Maria, the first time three Category 4 hurricanes made landfall in U.S. territory on the same year. (USA Today)  

Hurricane Damage Control: Piecing Together Time Records 
Fair Labor Standards Act compliance likely is not top of mind for workers during and after a hurricane. Evacuating and then returning to find damage to homes or businesses, nonexempt employees might overlook tracking hours they may have worked remotely, away from their employers during and after the storm. HR needs to get them back on track with the recording of hours worked. (SHRM Online)  

Comprehensive FAQs For Employers on Hurricanes and Other Workplace Disasters 
This list of frequently asked questions was originally prepared by Fisher Phillips law firm in 2005, in response to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. It has been updated several times over the course of the past 12 years. This article addresses many employment-related issues facing employers in the wake of hurricane-related disasters. (Fisher Phillips)  

Workplace Weather Disaster Resources
Employers must be prepared for a myriad of workplace issues that crop up before and after severe weather strikes. (SHRM Online)


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