NCNLA encourages members to be ready for hurricane season each year. The checklist below can help you prepare well in advance, right before, and right after a hurricane. This list is only a beginning. Make your own decisions as to the appropriate actions to take for your business, home and families.
Preparedness tips for well before the storm:
Make sure the nursery infrastructure is in good maintenance. Clear ditches free of weeds and debris so maximum drainage can occur.
Make sure your interior roads are in good repair to allow access to all areas of the nursery.
Make sure all buildings are in good repair.
Make sure all windows, doors, siding and roofing are secured according to building codes. Once wind gets under loose building materials, they will rip off. If you have portable sheds and trailers, tie them down securely. Evaluate whether you should remove covering of greenhouses and shade structures prior to a storm. Is it better to let the roofs and sides be torn off or allow for less resistance? Each grower must make his/her own decisions. Prior to a storm, inventory whether you have sufficient materials to minimally repair facilities.
Make sure all equipment is serviced and adequate supplies are on hand. For days to weeks after a hurricane, normal deliveries may be disrupted. Make sure you have fuel and other supplies you may need. Consider having minimal building materials on hand to repair structures. Evaluate all your potential needs. Make sure you have a supply of potting soil, fungicides, etc.
Make arrangements for power. Power lines may be disabled for days or weeks jeopardizing your irrigation systems. Develop a plan for irrigation, running office functions, running propagation areas, etc.
Make sure you have crop insurance. Crop insurance is a requirement to participate in any federal disaster programs. You must sign up for the program well before a storm threatens, because there is a 30-day hold.
View this page and the links and other information provided and print out details you may need following a storm.
Immediately before the storm:
Secure all loose items. Secure nursery containers, stakes, etc. Tie down anything possible. Loose items become missiles. If the storm can hurl a straw through a 2 x 4, think what it can do with nursery stakes. Secure all equipment in an area not likely to be damaged.
Lay down plant material. Winds in excess of 100 mph will strip foliage from plant materials. Plants may be blown down anyway, so they may survive better if you lay them parallel to the expected wind direction. Water plants fully prior to a storm.
Have emergency numbers. Make sure you have the numbers of your crop and property insurance agents, USDA's Natural Resource Conservation Service and Farm Service Agency, local police, fire and other emergency contacts.
Inventory your plants and equipment. This will help in the event you need to file a claim or determine the damage you have. Also, it will allow recovery of some lost items. Consolidate the serial numbers on your equipment
Establish a means to communicate with your employees. Your employees will need to know what you expect of them after the storm. Do you want them to come to work, to call you, or stay with their families? Communications may be disrupted for days. Make your plan before a storm strikes. Allow time for your employees to secure their homes prior to a storm.
Allow plenty of time to get prepared. Do not run the risk of not getting everything done that you need.
Print this page and contacts for post-storm reference. You may be without power, so be prepared.
After the storm:
Secure your structures and buildings. Make any necessary repairs to your structures so they are secure from the weather and intrusion.
Take care of your plant material. Stand up all plant material as quickly as possible to prevent burning from laying in the sun. Re-stake material as quickly as possible. Irrigate to flush any salt residue. The closer to the coast you are, the more important this is. The force of hurricane winds can carry salt spray for miles. Replant any material needing it. Prune to correct any damage. Notify the proper authorities in the event of storm damage.
Notify the local police or sheriff's department of any road obstructions or hazardous situations. Notify your electric company of any power outages so they can get your request in their repair sequences. Report water, sewer or gas line breaches to the appropriate authority. If in doubt, call the police or sheriff's department.
If necessary, notify disaster assistance agencies of your needs. If you have crop insurance, you may qualify for disaster assistance or low-cost loans. Contact the appropriate agency as soon as possible for instruction.
Notify your customers of your situation. As quickly as possible, let your customers know how well you survived the storm and when you anticipate servicing their accounts.
Inspect your property closely and pay attention to downed power lines, broken water lines, etc.
DO NOT approach downed power lines.
Call your power company and report downed lines or loss of power.
Photograph and document damage before you start clean-up.
NCNLA would like to thank FNGLA and the Tampa Bay Wholesale Growers for this valuable information.
USDA preparedness reminder and resources
Managing storm and disaster damage in landscapes and nurseries
Preparing your home and family for potential disasters
Stay ahead of the storm with extension disaster resources