According to the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Irma is the strongest Atlantic basic hurricane ever recorded.

As it bears down on the Caribbean and the southeast United States, here are some shocking numbers to consider when staying safe this weekend and preparations to take for yourself and your facilities.

5 Facts about Hurricane Irma

  1. 65,000– The square mileage of Irma’s tropical storm force winds. That’s roughly the same area as the state of Florida.
  2. 300 miles– The diameter of those tropical storm force winds, which is about twice as wife as Florida’s peninsula.
  3. 185 miles per hour– The strength of Irma’s maximum sustained winds. The closest hurricane to match this speed was back in 1992, Hurricane Andrew, which was the most destructive hurricane to hit Florida with maximum winds of 175 mph.
  4. About 5,000– The number of people that are being evacuated from the Bahamas. Bahamian Prime Minister said it is the largest evacuation in the history of the country.
  5. 79,000– The population of Monroe County, Florida, which makes up the Florida Keys. The county is under a mandatory evacuation order ahead of Irma’s predicted arrival.

Minimizing Damages is About Preparation

The impact on hotel asset management from natural disasters is well documented. Perhaps the most damaging events are the occurrence of hurricanes. With so many expensive hotels located near the U.S. coastline it is imperative that hotels be prepared for severe weather events.

Preparing your hotel for the possibility of a hurricane, tropical storm or any type of severe weather only takes a little preventive maintenance planning and can be performed relatively quickly by making use of storm checklists.

Storm checklists can be utilized before a storm for inspections and preventive maintenance, for inspections during a storm, if safety allows, and for inspections and repairs after the storm.

Your checklist should consist of a list of your assets that need to be inspected and prepared for the upcoming storm. This list could be a simple spreadsheet that is generated from your CMMS. How it is generated isn’t half as important as how it is used.

Once a checklist has been created it is maintenance management’s responsibility to ensure that each item is inspected, secured, and in working order.

Hurricane Checklists Asset Types

  • Rooftop Assets: Assets that can be moved or damaged by high winds such as satellite dishes, HVAC, roof tiles, gutters and outdoor lighting.
  • Moveable Assets: Anything outdoors not securely fastened or can be secured in a safe location.
  • Immoveable Assets: Assets that can be damaged by flooding such as pools, lobbies, beaches, boardwalks.
  • Power Generation: Assets that provide emergency power, lighting and information such as generators, fuel supplies, batteries and radios.
  • Food stores and coolers. Rotting food creates will only create additional problems.
  • Water and sanitation: Water towers, boilers. Is there an ample supply of freshwater ready? Are assets protected from wastewater contamination?
  • Prep and repair materials such as plywood for windows, tape, sandbags and fans (for drying out carpet).
  • Assets that should be turned off or stored to prevent fumes building up (ex: pilot lights).
  • Kitchen assets: Broilers, grills, ovens should all be turned off and fuel sources inspected for leaks before and after the storm.
  • Grounds: Assets used for care of the premises such as landscaping or mowing.

Once the hotel’s assets have been organized by type, the next step would be to separate them into areas for faster action.

Hurricane Checklist Types
  • Premises Checklist: Include all asset types that can be found outside.
  • Equipment Checklists : Include all equipment that need inspection separated by area.
  • Flooding Checklist: This checklist is essentially a listing of all assets needed to prevent or react to flooding.

When your assets are organized into a manageable checklist, inspections can be accomplished relatively quickly. For even faster results the mobility of maintenance teams can be increased using mobile devices which enable inspections, work orders and repairs to be performed online.

Lastly, inspections do not stop prior to the storm event. The same checklists can be used for inspections during and after the storm. For example, during the storm event, always on assets should be checked and after the storm all assets should be re-checked for damage and an action plan for repairs set.

In relation to Hurricane Irma, it passed through Puerto Rico late Wednesday and now on the path to the Bahamas and scheduled to pass through Florida Sunday, September 10th.

Mintek hopes all residents and families stay safe during this storm; stay up to date on the latest coverage of Hurricane Irma to ensure your safety.