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The impact on hotel asset management from natural disasters is well documented and perhaps one of the most damaging events is the occurrence of hurricanes.

Hurricane season officially began June 1 and lasts until November 30th. With so many expensive hotels located near the U.S. coastline, it is imperative that hotels prepare for severe weather events to not only protect their facilities but their guests.

“For the six-month hurricane season, which begins June 1, NOAA’s Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook says there is a 70 percent likelihood of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 7 to 11 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher)…These ranges are well above the seasonal average of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.”

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A recent occurrence still affecting its residents is Hurricane Florence that hit the Carolinas in September 2018. Over 344,000 people were without power in North Carolina, 10,000 people resided in N.C. shelters, crops were damaged, and over 63,000 gallons of untreated wastewater flowed for four hours into Cape Fear River basin where officials had to clean and flush for days after.

These tragic storms are ones businesses can learn from in order to better protect themselves, their facilities, and their guests in the future. These events can also be applied to hotels when it comes to protecting their facilities in disastrous situations. 

Minimizing Damages is all About Preparation

Hotel preparation from hurricanes or tropical storms starts with a little preventive maintenance planning that can easily be done with a simple checklist. Storm checklists can help engineers quickly identify tasks to complete around the property and transfer information quickly with a CMMS application.

Storm checklists are not difficult to put together and can be used over multiple properties/establishments. The checklists are created for the time immediately before a storm for inspections and preventive maintenance, for inspections during a storm (if possible) and for inspections and repairs after the storm.

A checklist is nothing more than a list of assets to be inspected and to be prepared for the upcoming storm. It can be a simple spreadsheet or be generated from your CMMS. How it is generated is not nearly as important as how it is used.

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

Ingredients of good hotel storm checklists include any asset that subject to damage or needed during an emergency.

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, and boardwalks.
  • Power Generation: Assets that provide emergency power, lighting and information such as generators, fuel supplies, batteries and radios.
  • Water and sanitation: Water towers and boilers. Is there an ample supply of freshwater available? 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 (i.e. pilot lights).
  • Kitchen assets: Broilers, grills, and ovens should be turned off and fuel sources inspected for leaks before and after the storm.

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 manageable checklist, inspections can be accomplished pretty 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 or after a storm event. The same checklists applied to a storm can be applied to daily rounds, work lists, and work orders that are assigned on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly rotation.

Checklists reduce the risk of human error and make it easier for engineers to track their work and report it to the engineering manager so items can be marked complete faster.

Checklists can save hotels thousands of dollars on unplanned labor, mistakes, mishaps, and ultimately put more money into assets where it is needed instead of where it wasn’t meant to be.