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Top 10 Hurricane Preparedness Tips for the Chemical Industry

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June 18, 2024

Are We Storm-Ready?

Top 10 Hurricane Preparedness Tips for the Chemical Industry

CHEMTREC and Alliance for Chemical Distribution (ACD), recently convened a panel of professionals to share their experience of preparing for hurricane season. Here are the top 10 tips for achieving hurricane preparedness in the chemical industry: 

1. Rollout of Hurricane specific training and drills 

Develop and deliver regular hurricane preparedness training sessions. These should build on existing emergency management training and scenarios but deal specifically with the threats posed during hurricane season. Organize regular or periodic drills that simulate different hurricane scenarios to test and refine response protocols. Use these drills to assess the effectiveness of current plans and make necessary adjustments. The panel found the bigger risks were often from tropical storms as hurricanes get ‘belts & braces’ prep – but tropical storms will often catch you ill prepared.

2. Develop Customized Site-Specific Plans

Many organizations lack site-specific hurricane preparedness plans. Generic plans may not address unique vulnerabilities and needs, leading to insufficient readiness. Create detailed plans for each site, considering their unique specific risks and resources. Collaborate with emergency management professionals to enhance these plans. Periodically review and update site-specific plans to incorporate new information and evolving risks. Carry out a free health check here to provide a gauge on your strengths and opportunities for improvement.

3. Focus on Recovery Planning

Organizations often face prolonged operational disruptions and significant financial losses without robust recovery plans. All too often plans focus solely on response, without considering how the business will recover. Statistics by FEMA suggest that 90% of small companies struck by a disaster fail within two years – recovery planning is business critical!

4. Upgrade Communication and Staff Tracking Systems

Maintaining communications with staff before, during and after a severe weather event is vital. Many organizations still deploy manual processes to do this which take time and do not always convey the urgency of any messaging. Invest in reliable and versatile mass communication tools that can function during power and network outages, and which deliver information rapidly in the event of an actual or potential incident – these do NOT need to cost a fortune to be effective! If you’d like advice or guidance and this is of interest to you, schedule an appointment or drop us an email at

5. Develop Robust Continuity of Operations Plans

In CHEMTREC’s State of the Industry Survey, 61% of organizations surveyed did not have a good understanding of how their emergency response, crisis management and business continuity management response mechanisms came together to form a holistic response. Having a holistic, coordinated response, recovery and continuity program is a vital step for all organizations. COVID-19 has seen an increase in interest in continuity of operations planning, but many COOP plans were designed specifically with COVID in mind, organizations should ensure their plans consider the significant potential impacts of a hurricane and that their mitigation and continuity strategies would work in these scenarios.

6. Enhance Crisis Management Plans

Lack of crisis management planning at the strategic level can lead to poor coordination and decision-making. Good crisis management plans enable a company to set the strategic intent and support the operational and tactical operations in hurricane preparedness.

7. Conduct Transport Risk Assessments

Even if organizations are not directly in the path of a severe storm, the impact on supply chains can be significant. Organizations must undertake work to understand not only their supply chain, but also the potential impacts on their transportation network of a hurricane. Route risk assessments help identify vulnerabilities in transportation routes and with different modes of transport, allowing companies to develop contingency plans that mitigate not only the direct impact of incidents, but also the knock-on impacts that may occur to transportation infrastructure in the event of a hurricane. Inadequate transport risk assessments, and a lack of understanding of supply chains, can compromise the continuity of operations.

8. Regularly Review and Update Plans and Consider a ‘Health Check’

The absence of regular plan reviews can leave organizations unprepared for new and evolving risks. Outdated plans may not be effective during an actual event. On the flipside, following the COVID pandemic, many organizations may find themselves with strategies which enhance their continuity of operations planning, with far more staff now able to work remotely, negating the need for a backup office space. A review of plans can therefore lead to potential cost savings! Carry out a free health check here

9. Engage with Experts

Many organizations lack the specific capabilities to deal with severe weather events. Our state of the industry survey revealed that only 7% of organizations responding to the survey have a full-time, dedicated crisis management expert. Visit our Consulting Solutions website where you will find some helpful resources. Work with local industry experts to evaluate your risks and plan to manage and mitigate these.

10. Utilize Preparedness Assessment Tools

Many organizations do not utilize available tools to assess their preparedness levels. Implications: Without proper assessment, organizations may overlook critical areas needing improvement. Please use this link to access a free hurricane preparedness assessment to carry out a free health check.

For more information, visit CHEMTREC's Consulting Solutions website at

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