Hurricane season is from the months of June through the end of November. Always be prepared before the season starts so that you are not caught off guard when it comes time for a storm to hit.
It is not a question of if a storm will hit, but when.
Make it your store policy to begin preparations in April/May to get ready for the hurricane season.
The value of a disaster recovery plan during emergency situations is imperative to staying safe, reducing down time, and ultimately loss of business.
The most important thing is safety; the safety of yourselves, your staff and customers. Please do what you know to be right when it comes to evacuations and closing down your station.
We advise following these steps to safeguard your stores, inventory and equipment during any severe storm. You can also view our entire Hurricane Preparedness Guide and Hurricane 5 Day Preparation Checklist for further areas that you may want to think about.
Before the Storm
- Be sure to have a current contact list of all employees, vendors, emergency response services, District Manager etc. and distribute to all employees. Make sure your employees understand the policies and procedures and what is expected of them before, during and after the storm.
- Back up all critical information on computers, and safely store any important paperwork in an area where risk of damage is minimal. Test your surveillance video equipment to ensure it is working.
- Take pictures of the store and forecourt; this includes but is not limited to inside equipment, outside equipment, Main ID signs, Canopy, Storefront, pumps etc.
- Manually stick tanks to ensure there is no water present. Check fill caps to ensure that they are secure, and if submerged will not leak water into the tanks. Apply some Vaseline to the outer rim of the fill cap for extra measure to keep water out.
- Remove all loose objects from the forecourt such as trash cans, wind signs, fonts on price sign, or anything that could become a flying object with high winds.
- Do a final count of inventory so that you know what is supposed to be there. Remove all valuable inventories from the floor, especially cigarettes in case of flooding. Secure all valuable items such as cigarettes and Lottery tickets in a locked room if possible.
- Do a day close or any other final reports on your register. Shut down the register, unplug main component (Ruby/Sapphire/Commander etc.) and make sure that the equipment is covered with a plastic trash bag to prevent water damage. Move any and all equipment that could be damaged by a potential flood off of the floor.
- Shut down and unplug all other electrical equipment such as lotto machines, computers, ATM’s etc. and cover with trash bags.
- Make arrangements to make a deposit before the banks close. Secure any bank monies in the safe or secured area to have when re-opening.
- Shut off power to the sumps and gas pumps before leaving. Shrink Wrap all pumps so that they are visibly not in use and elements are protected.
- Secure all windows and doors as best you can. If you can’t board up the windows, please duct tape them.
- We recommend you have a regular phone in case of loss of power. You can also have wireless cell phone chargers to re-charge your cell phones if power loss is extensive.
- Be in touch with your District Manager to let them know what procedures you have followed, and what your plan is for re-opening after the storm.
- It is important for insurance purposes to notate the times that you open and close the store. It is also important to notate the times that you lost power, and the time that the power was restored.
- Be sure when bringing loose items in, that you secure your gas stick.
After the Storm
- Contact all staff that you need to do an initial on-site inspection and re-opening.
- Walk the property both inside and out, document all damage that is present and take pictures. Pay particular attention to the pumps, gas display sign, canopy, roof, electrical and water lines, windows etc. Do not re-open until the property is safe for customers.
- Manually stick gas tanks for water. If the fill tank is full of water, scoop water out with a cup before opening fill cap.
- Notify your District Manager if there is any significant damage right away. Let them know if you are re-opening, or if damage is too significant.
- If re-opening, remove plastic wrap from pumps, trash bags from equipment, and be sure that all equipment is working properly when re-powered.
- Restore everything to normal operating order as much as possible. Check on fuel orders, ensure employees know the schedule, and make sure with local authorities that there are no “boil water” alerts in effect that would prevent you from selling items like coffee, fountain drinks, ice etc. Also check on possible curfews in effect for the area.
We hope all of you and your stations stay safe and damage-free throughout the storm should it become a threat. Please follow the above instructions as closely as possible, always using common sense when presented with dangerous weather and situations. Always keep an open line of communication with us before, during and after the storm.
Disclaimer: Southeast Petro Distributors, Inc. assumes no responsibility or liability for the inaction or action taken by any service station owner/operator based on the contents of this checklist. This checklist is intended to be only one of many resources available to the service station owner/operator to be used in case of responding to an emergency situation. Each service station owner/operator is an independent business person who is legally and contractually required to manage any emergency in a manner that complies with applicable laws and regulations.
If your store is in an Evacuation Zone, you may be ordered to leave the vicinity by a particular time. These time/procedures guidelines will need to be adjusted to. If your store is ordered to immediate shutdown and evacuate, follow the order/recommendations and directions by local authorities.
Communicate any anticipated closings to us prior to closing.