Prepare and Protect Your Church Property From Hurricanes

Hurricane Aerial View photo

Make Ready Your Hurricane Preparations Before the Storms Arrive

The 2024 hurricane season is underway so it’s imperative that you prepare and stay alert. Officially, hurricane season is June 1st thru November 30th of every year. Historically, August through October are the busiest months for storm activity. But, hands down, September holds the record year after year for the most tropical storms and hurricanes.

This hurricane preparedness guide was created to help you protect your church property from the storms. It includes a checklist to assist in keeping track of tasks that need to be done along with additional resources for hurricane preparation and tracking.

It’s important to know that all hurricanes are given a category rank. This rank is between 1 and 5 with a Category 5 being the most powerful. A storm with a Category 3 rank or higher is labeled a major hurricane and considered the most dangerous. But, no matter the size of the storm, strong winds will blow and heavy rains will fall in a short amount of time. For this reason, it is essential to prepare before these storms arrive.


Boarding up Windows for Storm photo

There are several things you can do now to reduce property damage due to storm winds and flood waters that may come as a result of tropical storms and hurricanes. Every church is unique in its own way so consider this when inspecting your property. Work together with someone in evaluating potential problems because two sets of eyes are better than one.


An Increase in Hurricane Activity Is Predicted in 2024

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is forecasting an 85% chance of above-average storm activity this year. This is in stark contrast to a mere 10% forecast of a near-average and 5% forecast of a below-average season in 2024.

“NOAA National Weather Service forecasters at the Climate Prediction Center predict above-normal hurricane activity in the Atlantic basin this year. NOAA’s outlook for the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season, which spans from June 1 to November 30, predicts an 85% chance of an above-normal season, a 10% chance of a near-normal season and a 5% chance of a below-normal season.”
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA)
www.noaa.gov

Back Up Important Documents

Save your church’s important documents and records to a portable drive as well as “in the cloud” if possible. This includes your disaster emergency plan, key employees’ contact information and insurance policies. Also, make a few copies on flash drives and give to key people on your church staff or leadership team.


Protect Church Vehicles

A church car, van or bus is one of the most expensive assets to fix or replace. During a large storm, vehicles can easily be damaged by strong winds, flying debris and rising flood waters. Follow these guidelines to help protect your church vehicles in a hurricane:

  • Park vehicles under cover or next to a building to avoid flying projectiles
  • Do not park vehicles near trees, power lines or other objects that could fall
  • Move vehicles to higher ground if in an area known to flood with water
  • Avoid driving in a tropical storm, hurricane or other severe weather
“Just one foot of standing water is enough to render some vehicles inoperable.”

Secure Outdoor Objects

Securing your outside items from strong winds can help to reduce property damage. Walk around your entire church campus before the storm or hurricane approaches to identify trouble areas. Also, consider areas that may be prone to flooding due to heavy rainfall.

Church Signage

Remove any portable signs around the property altogether. For permanent church signs near the ground, secure them with plywood in the same manner as you would windows.

Church Playgrounds

Most modern playground equipment is installed to be permanently stationary. But, take a look at your preschool, daycare and church playgrounds to secure loose items.

Church Lighting

Repair or remove any loose light fixtures. Also, secure portable lighting such as ground landscape fixtures. Remove any lighting if it was installed below normal water levels.

“Securing outdoor objects is a key step in preventing damage to your church in severe weather.”

Cover Windows and Glass Doors

Covering windows and glass doors with hurricane shutters or plywood has proven to be effective against high winds. Also, consider moving loose items inside the building that are close to these openings. Protect equipment by elevating them off the floor or moving them to a safer location.

Sandbag Doors and Entrances

Use sandbags around your doors and entrances to create a water barrier. This will help prevent flood waters from reaching the doorway and entering the building. Be sure to include garage doors and shed doors as well as other entrances where water can seep into a structure.


Hurricane Preparedness Video


Florida Hurricane Preparedness Tax Holiday

The Florida Department of Revenue offers help with the expenses of preparing for a hurricane. For a limited time you can purchase qualified items sales tax free. There are two tax holidays for Florida in 2024:

Saturday, June 1, 2024 – Friday, June 14, 2024
Saturday, August 24, 2024 – Friday, September 6, 2024

The Florida DOR has this PDF available for more details: 2024 Florida Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday.


Checklist for Your Hurricane Preparations

The checklist below will help you keep track of tasks you’ve completed and ones that still need to be done.

Hurricane Preparedness Checklist

Church Property Insurance

Just as homeowners insurance is important for those who own their home, property insurance is necessary for churches too. But, is your church insurance policy hurricane-ready? Without wind and flood coverage your church may have to deal with the cost of hurricane damages on its own. Most churches are complacent about hurricanes until disaster happens. Be sure to talk with a knowledgeable insurance agent to determine if you have sufficient coverage to help pay for the costs associated with storm damages. Don’t let poor planning or a lack of insurance destroy the mission of your church.

NOTE: When a storm approaches adjustments to your insurance policy is no longer possible. Once a storm threatens your area or becomes a watch or warning, you can not get a new policy or make changes to your existing coverage. Don’t wait for an approaching hurricane to address your insurance needs. Be proactive in making sure your property insurance coverage is up to date and ready.

What’s the Exception?

Standard property insurance covers various damage to buildings, property and equipment. However, most standard policies do not cover wind and flood damages. In highly active areas like Florida, wind and flood are the two main types of damage caused by hurricanes.

Don’t Get Blown Away

Make sure hurricane season doesn’t damage your mission. Because every church and it’s mission is unique, let an agent at Beacon review the details of your current church property insurance policy. We can also answer your hurricane, wind and water damage coverage questions.

Rely on Local Experience

Beacon Insurance Agency has decades of experience in specialized insurance coverage for churches. Our agents work with you to determine the best options for your ministry. We know insurance can be confusing so we discuss your needs and budget before finding a policy for you.


Hurricane Preparedness Resources

Below are additional resources you can use to help in preparing for tropical storms during hurricane season.


Conclusion

We hope this hurricane preparation guide helps you with protecting your church property. Hurricane season can be a stressful time for everyone. When a tropical storm is approaching, all we can do is wait as the storm builds and watch the direction it’s traveling in. Although stressful, panicking never helps. A tropical storm or hurricane can be a frightening experience, but remember you’re prepared, so stay calm and be alert.

Our greatest mission at Beacon has always been to illuminate our clients’ path to peace of mind.
We strive to empower them with the safety information they need to go out in service to the world.

Beacon Insurance Agency serves churches, schools and nonprofit organizations. For over a decade we have built a solid reputation for providing clients with customized coverages. Insurance policies tailored to their needs as well as providing invaluable safety resources. In striving to provide the very best service, we partner with GuideOne. This allows us access to risk management guidance and custom coverage solutions.

Contact us today to have us review your existing property insurance policy.
We can also work with you to find packaged policies and plans that protect your future.


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