HALCA Announcement: With a possible tropical storm on the way, The Houston area Livery & Charter Association has circulated these helpful tips for operators facing storms and floods. These are good tips that apply just about anywhere along the coast and near inland flood-prone areas:
Have food and water at your warehouse and encourage some drivers to stay there
Put your computer hard drives in waterproof containers. Damage to those can come from leaking roofs, blown out windows. or flooding.
You should have gone to a system like ULS or Limo anywhere to have all your reservations and accounting backed up in cyberspace.
You should advise clients that as street flooding begins, you will switch to SUVs and shuttle buses which can move through high water better than sedans.
Tropical Storm Bill makes landfall in the early hours of Tuesday. Its effects expected to last through Wednesday. Preparation is the key. The Houston Office of Emergency Management’s Disaster Preparedness Guide has useful checklists to help you prep and keep safe. At the very least, you should review these tips from NOAA:
Storm preparation tips for your household
Before the storm arrives, check to make sure you have:
Your car’s tank is filled with gasoline
First aid supplies and prescription medications
Sterno, charcoal, lighter fluid, and matches or a lighter
Candles and matches
Flashlight, battery-operated radio and a two-week supply of batteries
Bottled water, electrolyte drinks and cooler with gel packs
Hammer, nails, masking tape, plywood and plastic for quick home repairs
Clean up supplies – pails, mops, brooms and rakes
Non-perishable food items, eating utensils, plates, cups and a manual can opener
Protective clothing, rain gear and sturdy shoes
Buy a generator and spare gas cans if you can afford it
Storm preparation checklist
While you’re gathering what you need, be prepared for getting through the storm:
Prepare for phone interruption in case service goes down
Check your home for any hazards, such as old trees that could fall
Secure anything in your lawn that could be blown away
Take video or photos for a home inventory
Check your insurance policies
Be safe during the storm
Remaining calm during a storm comes first. Even if you’re a veteran on gulf storms, it’s wise to remember this advice:
Stay inside, away from windows, skylights and glass doors.
Keep supply of flashlights and extra batteries handy. Avoid open flames, such as candles and kerosene lamps, as a source of light.
If power is lost, turn off major appliances to reduce power “surge” when electricity is restored.
Listen constantly to a battery-operated radio or television for official instructions.
If in a mobile home, check tiedowns and evacuate immediately.
Store valuables and personal papers in waterproof containers on the highest level of your home.
Hunker down storm preparation tips
If you choose to ride out the storm, should move valuables to upper floors if possible.
Fill containers or tubs with several days’ worth of drinking water.
Turn your refrigerator to coldest setting and stay indoors on the downwind side of house, away from windows.
Beware the eye of the storm; live power lines, rising water and unstable trees and structures continue to be threats despite the temporary calm.
Once the all-clear is sounded, be wary of high water or power lines when driving.
Report damaged water, sewer and electrical lines.
At home, check for gas leaks and spoiled food or water.
Once the storm passes
The danger of a storm continues even after it passes.
Stay in your protected area until announcements are made on the radio or TV that the dangerous winds have passed.
If you have evacuated, do not return home until officials announce your area is ready. Remember, proof of residency may be required in order to re-enter the evacuation areas.
Be aware of the surroundings when returning as extreme damage could render a familiar landscape unrecognizable.
If your home or building has structural damage, do not enter until it is checked by officials.
Beware of outdoor hazards such as downed power lines and any water they may be lying in, poisonous snakes driven from their dens by high water, weakened bridges, washed out roads, weakened limbs on trees, and/or damaged overhanging structures.
Do not use the telephone unless absolutely necessary. The system is usually jammed with calls during and after a hurricane.
Guard against spoiled food. Use dry or canned food. Do not drink or prepare food with tap water until you are certain it is not contaminated with flood waters.
When cutting up fallen trees, use caution, especially if you use a chain saw. Serious injuries can occur when these powerful machines snap back or when the chain breaks.
Notify your insurance agent about damage to your house. Take video or still pictures of damaged property. Keep records of your clean up cost.
All Houston Limousine operators must take safety seriously because in many case all it takes is one miscalculation, and your whole business would be in jeopardy. So be smart, be safe, and plan ahead.