Start preparing for storm season

2021 hurricane season expected to be busier than normal

By County magazine staff

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This year’s hurricane season — which kicks off June 1 — is expected to be another busy one for Texas, meaning  counties should start preparing early for disastrous weather. 

Last year, the Atlantic hurricane season saw a record-breaking 30 storms, including 12 that made landfall in the continental U.S., according to the National Hurricane Center. Disaster declarations were issued for three storms that affected Texas counties, including hurricanes Hanna and Laura and Tropical Storm Marco. 

TAC Risk Management Pool (TAC RMP) members filed 168 weather-related claims last year, and 120 have already been filed this year after February’s disastrous winter weather.

Although early predictions for the 2021 hurricane season show fewer storms than last year, the number is expected to be higher than normal, according to University College London

To help counties weather any storm, from hail to flooding, TAC RMP offers the following tips.

Before a storm:

  • Designate people to coordinate response and their location. 
  • Ensure that contact numbers for the TAC RMP Claims Department are easily accessible, as well as those for emergency response companies, county employees, contractors and other key contacts. 
  • Verify whether essential documents are backed up or stored in multiple locations.
  • Understand the county’s coverage and deductible. 
  • Obtain appraisals of properties or a list of all buildings and locations; prepare an inventory or photos of each location’s contents or business personal property; have a list of emergency response companies and contractors, and whether they have been vetted; prepare emergency supplies; prepare forms to track expenses such as after-hour or overtime labor.
  • Create a catastrophe preparedness and response plan.
  • Carefully consider the type of roof to install on a new building or when replacing an old roof. Better hail-rated roofing systems could be close to the same cost as other systems. Properly maintain roofs. 
  • Store vehicles and equipment under cover when possible. 

During and after a storm:

  • Deploy a trained initial response team to do inspections. 
  • Contact TAC RMP, emergency response companies or contractors. 
  • Determine which buildings need generators or supplies to respond to water damage or security. 
  • Secure and inventory property that has not been damaged. 
  • Follow property procurement and bid law practices. 
  • Designate people to coordinate repairs and to track payments for covered damages; ensure the person understands the claim process.

To find more information on these tips, on the creation of a catastrophe preparedness and response plan and on how human resources should factor into storm preparedness, contact your TAC RMP consultant at www.county.org/County-Risk-Management-Map.