How to Prepare Your Church for Hurricane Season
Ensuring your church is ready for hurricane season starts long before a storm begins to form in the ocean.
This year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is forecasting a range of 12 to 17 total named storms with 5 to 9 becoming hurricanes, including 1 to 4 major hurricanes.
Churches along the coast are at risk of damage from hurricanes and tropical storms. Strong winds
can bring down trees and damage facilities; intense rainfall can flood buildings and destroy church property.
Even if a church isn’t in the direct path of a hurricane, a large storm can affect areas far beyond the eye. And as a hurricane
weakens and continues to move, states well inland from the coast can experience tropical storm conditions, tornadoes and flooding.
You can’t avoid storms, but you can ensure your church is ready for hurricane season and take proactive steps to prevent extensive damage.
Prep Your Property for Wind and Water Damage
Strong winds and intense rainfall are two of the most common culprits to cause damage to churches during hurricanes.
Your windows are vulnerable to flying debris. In addition, most churches don’t have shutters, so take time to measure and cut
plywood sheets to cover windows adequately. If windows aren’t covered, not only will there be a cost to replace the glass, but rainwater may
leak into your building, causing further damage.
Low-lying areas of your church, like a basement, are more likely to flood. Ensure water mitigation methods, like sandbags, are ready to implement before a storm.
Inspect your roof and identify shingles that need replacing or damage to address. Heavy rainfall, high winds and hail
threaten your church’s roof, which can cause widespread damage to your property.
Unclog gutters and check if they drain correctly and away from your church to help manage excessive rains during a storm.
Get Your Staff and Office Ready
Your most important responsibility is taking care of your staff and congregation. You'll want a shelter-in-place plan if you have
folks on-site during stormy weather. Everyone should know where to go in an emergency, the locations of fully stocked first-aid kits, and emergency exit access.
Have a way to monitor weather conditions in your area so you can send staff and volunteers home at the appropriate time.
Your office may be in an area that’s vulnerable to flooding. Make copies (preferably digital backups on an external storage device) of essential
records that could be destroyed by water or equipment loss and store them off-site.
Create a Volunteer Team
Volunteers can play an essential role in your hurricane preparedness and recovery. Establish a team willing
to prepare the church for a storm, like boarding windows or inspecting church grounds.
Once it’s safe to start cleaning up after a storm, have a group to help get the church restored and ready to
continue doing ministry work.
Review Your Insurance Coverage
Knowing that your church has adequate coverage before a storm makes landfall is critical.
Hurricane damage can cause thousands of dollars in repairs and interrupt your ministry’s efforts. The right policy can
help ensure your church’s ability to continue serving your community even when impacted by storm damage.
During hurricane season and beyond, your church can count on Southern Mutual Church Insurance to be
there for you. Please contact your agent or a member of our team to review your policy and make changes if needed.