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Hurricanes, Sizzling-Heat and Other Adverse Weather: Protecting Your People and Self-Storage Property This Summer

Summer is here, and with it comes hot weather, hurricanes and other yucky weather for most parts of the United States. What’s your plan to keep your self-storage staff, tenants and property safe? Consider the following advice.

Amy Campbell

June 17, 2022

3 Min Read
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The official start of the summer season is still a few days ways, but most of us are already reeling from the sky-high temperatures and horrendous humidity. In addition, we’ve just entered hurricane season, which runs through the end of November. Both seasons are expected to pack a punch this year. The Climate Prediction Center declared most U.S. regions will experience above-normal temperatures. Similarly, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts “above average” hurricane activity.

Excessive heat, storms, humidity, fires, droughts and other weather-related calamities can greatly affect a self-storage property, employees and tenants. The industry is also in rapid-build mode, which means scores of construction workers are being exposed to extreme temperatures as well. As we head into the danger zone, consider the following to keep everyone safe.

Ideally, stay inside when the weather hits those high or even triple digits like they do here in Arizona. Unfortunately, that’s not always realistic. You can’t tell a new tenant who arrives at 2 p.m. to rent a unit to come back tomorrow at 8 a.m. If you need to show them an exterior unit, make it quick. You can do this by discussing rental rates, property rules and other talking points before heading outdoors.

Schedule lock checks or maintenance work for the morning hours when possible. Also, park your golf cart in the shade or a climate-controlled unit so you don’t wind up with second-degree burns when you use it. Be sure to close the office blinds during the hottest part of the day and keep a fan running to circulate the air. And, of course, stay hydrated! You should offer your customers cold water as well.

If you must be outdoors, wear sunscreen and a hat or other head protection. Choose light colors made of breathable material like cotton. Or consider moisture-wicking fabrics, which can keep you cooler and dry when it’s humid. If a task will be time-consuming, try breaking it into chunks so you’re not spending hours in the heat. Put up a large umbrella or shade canopy to cover you while you work if you’re going to be in the same spot for a bit.

When it’s sweltering, it’s also vital to keep an eye out for signs of heat stress in yourself and others. These include dizziness, headache, flushed skin and nausea. If anyone exhibits these, move them to a cool place, offer water in small sips, and apply wet cloths to the skin. In extreme cases of vomiting, confusion develops or the symptoms last longer than an hour, medical intervention might be needed.

Beyond the heat, you should also be ready for other types of risks. And while it’s impossible to fully prepare for any calamity that might come your way, you should have procedures in place for several “what if” scenarios. What’s your plan of action for a fire, flood, tornado, hurricane or power outage? How will you communicate with tenants? Put it all in writing—along with the necessary phone numbers—and make sure everyone understands the protocols.

If your storage site is in an area prone to bad weather, it’s not a bad idea to stock up on supplies such as plywood to board up windows in case of a hurricane, sandbags for flooding, tarps, rope or other materials you might need to safeguard the property. Also, it’s imperative you know how to lock down gate access, and how to shut off the water and power to property in case of an emergency.

When it comes to weather, the best course of action is to be sensible. Plan ahead and take precautions, so you can enjoy the summer, rather than dread it. Stay safe!

About the Author(s)

Amy Campbell

Editor, Inside Self Storage

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