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Creating a Hurricane Preparedness Plan for Your Club

How to Create a Hurricane Preparedness Plan for Your Golf Course or Country Club

With hurricane season in full swing, you’ll find numerous articles and blog posts with tips on how businesses can prepare for Mother Nature’s wrath. However, golf courses and country clubs have a unique set of risks, since many operations include hospitality and retail elements. In addition to protecting your main asset – your course – emergency planning and insurance coverage become complex issues.

While not all threats to your business can be avoided, careful planning and preparation can help mitigate several risks.

1. Select an emergency planning team

If your club has assets in addition to the course, such as a restaurant or pro shop, consider this a very important pre-step to the planning. Be sure to include individuals familiar with those business units when selecting your team that will focus on natural disaster preparedness.

In addition to creating a Hurricane Preparedness Plan, also create a Disaster Recovery Plan if you haven’t already done so. Developing both simultaneously with your team can reveal weaknesses and opportunities in your plans, and help you to plan accordingly.

2. Start with the basics

When creating your preparedness plan, there are numerous resources that provide the basics of what to include. Check out government resources such as ready.gov/business, fema.gov, osha.gov, and sba.gov for information and ready-made checklists that cover topics such as communications, sandbagging, emergency supply kit contents, etc. for businesses.

3. Be specific

Once you have the basics covered and outlined in your plan, think about specific preparations needed for grounds, clubhouse, retail areas, etc., such as:

  • Remove outdoor fixtures, furniture, and landscaping that would not sustain high winds, such as signage, flags, dead trees, etc.
  • Secure chemicals used for groundskeeping up off the floor to protect from potential flooding.
  • Trim and clear branches and trees close to buildings.
  • Inspect roofs and flashings on all buildings.
  • Reduce supplies of food in the event of a power outage.
  • Elevate kitchen appliances, retail stock, and other valuables above flood level. Consider moving particularly expensive items offsite in the event of looting.
  • Secure large furniture such as kitchen racks, retail displays, etc. to the wall.
  • Make backups of important documents such as insurance papers, tax files, employee files, etc. Store originals offsite or in a secured waterproof container.
  • Document and take photos of current retail stock, kitchen items, groundskeeping supplies, etc. for insurance purposes.

4. Share

Once you have a checklist of tasks with individuals assigned, communicate your plan to employees outside the emergency planning team. They will likely suggest additional concerns that should be addressed.

5. Communicate

Finally, share your plan with your insurance provider to ensure you have the essentials covered. Your agent or broker will be your best source of hands-on help before a natural disaster strikes. He or she can provide specifics on items you may be missing in your plan and can also discuss your current policy to ensure you have adequate coverage should a disaster occur.

Unfortunately, natural disasters are a part of life and can cause extra havoc for businesses like golf courses and country clubs that rely on members, guests, vendors, and events to survive and thrive. However, by diligently preparing in advance for these threats, you can mitigate many of the risks your club will face, and have peace of mind that you’re prepared for even the worst case scenario.

Contact the insurance professionals at VGM Insurance & Financial Solutions for more information about keeping your club protected when faced with disaster.

David A. Harnois, CCM, CPL, is a proud employee owner of VGM Insurance & Financial Solutions, specializing in commercial and group program business. David provides insurance solutions for clubs through his VGM Club endorsed program. David can be reached at 319-800-6676 or at david.harnois@vgm.com.

 

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