How to Protect Your Business from a Natural Disaster

hurricane warning

How to Protect Your Business from a Natural Disaster

 Hurricane Florence becomes strong Category 4 storm 

Hurricane Florence has intensified to a Category 4 storm as it barrels toward the East Coast. The National Weather Service is forecasting the storm to make landfall along the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic on Thursday night.  

While many types of businesses will be impacted, gas stations are a unique and critical resource that must be protected as much as possible. Below is a quick guide to prepare your site in the days before this storm hits. 

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Station Preparations
The following steps should be taken in preparation before a natural disaster strikes: 

  1. To prevent underground storage tanks from floating in flood conditions, keep tanks as full as possible prior to shutting down station or evacuating. 
  2. Check/secure all storage tank fill caps when flooding conditions are expected. 
  3. Manually trip shear valves under each dispenser. 
  4. Be sure dispensers/pumps are anchored to the island per Gilbarco installation instructions. 
  5. You may lose all electronic totals, configuration, or report data during a natural disaster. Print out or manually record critical information that may be needed to restore your operation. 
  6. Remove AC power from ALL equipment before leaving the station. Safety lockout procedures should be used.  
  7. Ensure dispenser doors are properly closed, locked and that seals are in good condition. If seals are questionable, use waterproof tape around the door seals to protect unit interior against extreme wind and rain conditions. 
  8. Cover pump and dispenser openings (printer opening, cash acceptor opening, etc.) with waterproof tape to protect equipment from extreme wind and rain. 
  9. Temporarily remove non-original equipment and add-on signs from dispensers and pumps. Seal any mounting holes with waterproof tape to protect unit interior against extreme wind and rain conditions. 
  10. Secure or remove any forecourt or station equipment (trash barrels, etc.) that could blow into pumps and dispensers during extreme weather conditions. 
  11. If possible, move all c-store electronic equipment onto your counter-tops prior to leaving your site to prevent flood damage.  


Station Recovery 
The following are general precautions to be followed before attempting station recovery after a natural disaster. 

  1. If not done prior to evacuation, remove power to all equipment at site.  
  2. Have a technician and electrician check equipment condition and AC power service and make any needed repairs before restoring power. 
  3. Check tanks for water. If present, remove water from tanks before attempting to dispense fuel. If water and contamination is heavy, tanks may need to be pumped out completely, cleaned, and filled with fresh product. 
  4. Check for water in conduit. Test for possible insulation damage, shorts or opens. If water is present, vacuum or blow water from conduits. Replace defective wires as necessary, and repour seal-offs. 
  5. Do not use emergency generators except for lighting. Emergency generator power may cause damage to electronic components. 
  6. Do not operate the pump or dispenser if there is any chance that water may enter the hydraulic system. Pumping water will damage hydraulic components. 
  7. Replace filters. If filter caps are present, remove caps and install filters. 
  8. Repair/replace all damaged components. Use only Gilbarco certified parts. 

Pumps, dispensers and consoles that have been completely submerged should not be used. This equipment will require refurbishment, and should be sent to Gilbarco for repairs and testing.