As Hurricane Ian bears down on Florida, Lancer Insurance Co. offers a checklist for bus companies preparing for hurricanes.
The level of preparation before a hurricane’s arrival can determine how well your company weathers the storm and how quickly you recover from it. Bus and motorcoach companies are strongly advised to review the following important precautions to help protect vehicles and employees from the dangers of a hurricane:
Prepare Your Organization
- Monitor the National Weather Service, along with Emergency Alert System radio and television stations in your area. Pay attention to weather warnings and heed all state and local evacuation advisories.
- Remind employees of key elements of your company’s emergency preparedness plan, including local evacuation routes and post-storm communication procedures.
Prepare Your Vehicles
- Cancel or reroute all scheduled trips within the path of the storm.
- Fill vehicle fuel tanks, as power outages and weather-related fuel delivery delays could result in fuel shortages after the storm.
- Move any vehicles that are not going to be in service to higher ground, if you are in the storm’s path. Park vehicles away from trees, power lines or other objects that could fall on them.
- Please contact Lancer Insurance Co. immediately if your company has been contracted to assist in storm evacuations: 800-782-8902, ext. 3805
- Establish a communication system that requires scheduled contact times with your drivers so they can be updated on conditions. Adhere to your electronic device usage policy so drivers are not using cell phones while operating the vehicle.
Prepare Your Drivers
- Ensure that drivers complete pre-trip vehicle inspections as prescribed by federal regulations, paying particular attention to tires, windshield wipers and headlights.
- Advise drivers to check news reports, online and weather channels as part of their trip-planning routine and again every hour or two, as conditions can change rapidly. Tornado warnings should be taken very seriously.
- Recommend drivers allot extra time to reach their destination and have an alternate route in place before leaving so they’re better prepared if conditions require it. State highway patrol and Department of Transportation websites provide up-to the minute information on traffic, road closures and detours.
- Remind drivers to turn on headlights to improve visibility and follow local and state laws for using headlights when windshield wipers are on.
- Urge drivers to slow down to increase traction and control.
- Caution drivers to avoid sudden braking that could send their vehicle into a skid or cause hydroplaning.
- Encourage drivers to keep more space around their vehicle to allow sufficient time to slow down or stop on wet, slick road surfaces.
- Recommend drivers stay in the center of the road as much as possible because water tends to flow outward, and to drive in others’ tracks for better traction.
- Warn drivers to not take chances by driving through standing water or around roadblocks or barricades. If they come upon a flooded street, they should take an alternate route.
- Urge drivers to watch for objects that could potentially blow into the roadway, and to avoid downed power lines.
- Advise drivers that whenever adverse weather impacts safe driving, they should pull over to the nearest safe and legal location, away from trees, power lines or other objects that could fall on their vehicle, until the vehicle can be safely operated (see FMCSR 392.14).
After the storm, be very aware that flooded vehicles will find their way into the mainstream used vehicle markets. All vehicles should be thoroughly inspected before being purchased.