It’s mid-July, and we’re 1½ months into the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. Weather forecasters have predicted an active hurricane season, with as many as 17 storms expected (and named, from Franklin to Jose, Ophelia to Tammy). A handful of those could turn from tropical storms into hurricanes, with sustained winds up to 74 to 95 mph — the range for a Category 1 storm – or higher.
Officials say it’s never too early to start preparing for the uncertainty of hurricane season. 2016 was the most active year for hurricanes in the Sunshine State since 2012, with four major storms wreaking havoc along the state’s eastern seaboard. Hurricanes Matthew and Hermine together caused more than $1.5 billion in property damage, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
And while hurricane season officially ends Nov. 30, the potential for severe weather remains year-round: In January, a series of tornadoes ripped through areas of Florida and Georgia over two days, causing extensive property damage and killing more than a dozen people.
Wild weather poses unique challenges for contractors – whether they’re installing solar panels, repairing swimming pools or remodeling homes. Here are some things to consider as the hurricane season advances into August:
–With storms developing by the week, it’s important to keep tabs daily – or even hourly — on changes in weather systems, so that project schedules can be adjusted at job sites.
–Communicate regularly with workers about emergency procedures and safety plans. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) publishes guidelines for storm preparedness.
–With major storms closing in, contractors should clean up and secure work sites, especially those with heavy machinery and equipment. Objects such as portable bathrooms, garbage bins, tools and loose building materials can turn into damaging projectiles during high-wind events. Board-up windows and seal doorways, and expect localized flooding.
In a storm’s aftermath, when the demand for emergency repairs is high, don’t get caught performing unlicensed work. Roof repairs, the installation of new windows, plumbing work, electrical rewiring and the rebuilding of marine docks all require a license – and not just one single license. The penalties for performing unlicensed work, even for first-time offenders, are stiff — up to one year in prison or 12 months of probation, and a fine of $1,000.
That’s especially important to know for out-of-state contractors seeking work in Florida.
A Florida contractor licensing company can help companies navigate the state’s licensing requirements, with approvals as quick as 10 days. For more information on Florida contractor requirements or to get an application started, visit our Florida Contractor Licensing website or call 239-777-1028.