Hurricane season is here and according to The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the 2020 season is one to take action for. Along with the already present COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis and other natural disasters, the NOAA predicts this year to be an above-normal season with a total of 13 to 19 storms.
The combination of an abnormal hurricane season and the ongoing COVID-19 crisis presents a new challenge for many in areas where resources are already of limited supply. In response to this issue, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released the COVID-19 Pandemic Operational Guidance for the 2020 Hurricane Season to outline the potential concerns and address considerations for how they will be dealt with in the event of a hurricane.
Several of the potential concerns mentioned revolve around the housing and home building industry. While the industry has already taken great measure against the spread of COVID-19, there are a few additional potential impacts that should be taken into consideration when planning for this hurricane season:
With every natural disaster comes the risk of power outages as a result of damages to local electric and telecommunications infrastructure. With so many company’s already working from home and communicating virtually and over the phone, the loss of communication means could be detrimental to both internal and external communication. In the event of a hurricane, home builders will want to have a communications plan in place, as well as infrastructure back-ups that will continue to support any virtual technologies they may be using at the time.
Disruptions in the Workforce
As one can expect, a sudden natural disaster such as a hurricane can have huge impacts on the labor force. Staffing levels have already seen significant cuts due to social distancing measures. Homebuilders should be prepared for further disruptions in the workforce if a hurricane should occur.
The economy has already taken a drastic hit, affecting the financials of companies across the country and around the world. Similar to COVID-19, home builders will want to plan and account for the potential of continued economic impacts on their business.
Evacuations and Exposure
Exposure amid an evacuation is a lingering concern for many. Hurricanes and other natural disasters often require individuals to evacuate the area and seek shelter elsewhere to protect their safety. Homebuilders will want to focus all areas of potential person-to-person exposure including securing the worksite/office, evacuation procedures and the transition back to regular operations.
Material Supply and Scheduling
Many suppliers of construction materials are currently on backorder due to supply chain issues and adjusted delivery procedures brought on by COVID-19. Home builders can expect to see similar supply and scheduling issues in the event that they are impacted by severe weather.
Personal Protective Product Supply
One essential item all home builders will want to make sure they have available are personal protective products such as masks and face shields. Local shortages of these products already exist, so it’s crucial that home builders maintain consistent communication with their suppliers to ensure they have enough on hand in case of an emergency.