Hurricane Dorian is gaining strength with its eye heading toward Florida’s Atlantic coast. The Category 3 storm is expected to become a Category 4 hurricane before making landfall sometime around Tuesday morning. Current projections predict it will hit South or Central Florida. As the nation watches for updates on the storm’s path and strength, glass and glazing companies in the state are busy preparing for what could be a major hurricane.

How Companies are Preparing

Saturno Glass & Mirror Co. Inc., based in West Palm Beach, Fla., put aside some of its installations to focus on repairing and replacing broken windows prior to the storm, according to owner Trudie Wilde. She says the company is also helping people board up their windows and has ordered extra inventory for the storm’s aftermath.

PGT Innovations is headquartered in North Venice, Fla., on the other side of the state, but it has plants and distribution centers throughout Florida. The company’s number one concern is for its team members and customers.

“Our Hurricane Tracking Team has been following the storm for more than a week and updating leadership so informed decisions on preparations and business operations can be made to protect our team members and our Florida facilities in Hialeah, Miami, Orlando and Venice,” says Jeff Jackson, president and CEO of PGT Innovations. “Team members at each of our Florida locations have been receiving regular communication about our storm tracking and planning efforts. Prior to the storm, our team will communicate to our customers about any potential impact to business operations, lead times, delivery, etc.”

The company has also provided links to helpful online resources across its social platforms to assist residents who are located in areas that could be impacted by the storm.

“As in years past, PGT Innovations and our team members are always ready to provide support whenever possible. We are sourcing emergency relief supplies such as bottled water, flashlights, batteries, tarps, chain saws, generators and other much-needed items, and will mobilize our volunteer team members to deliver supplies to aid those affected by Hurricane Dorian, especially in the areas forecasted to be hit the hardest,” says Jackson. “In addition, a hurricane relief page has been set up on our website for our team members. Through this channel, team members can connect directly with our Employee Assistance Program team if post-storm assistance is needed.”

IGE Glass Technologies, based in Jupiter, Fla., is anticipating that it will be impacted by Hurricane Dorian. The company sent out an email to customers letting them know that, depending on the outcome of the storm, IGE could be closed September 3-4.

Martin Bracamonte, president and COO of IGE, says the company is “100% ready. Our building is hurricane-rated and we have a large generator to keep us running. We can run our automatic warehouse and serve our customers without interruption.”

The email that the company sent out to customers reads, “We will be back in operation as soon as the roads are safe and cleared for travel as our offices are equipped with 100% backup generator power. Parts, tools and materials shipments will resume when UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc. … service is resumed.”

Several glass and glazing companies in and near West Palm Beach were overwhelmed with customer calls and unable to provide USGNN™ with comment at this time.

Preparation Insights

While many glass and glazing companies are working to meet customer’s needs prior to the hurricane, it’s also important for companies to protect their business. GCI Consultants is a building envelope consulting firm based in West Palm Beach. Paul Beers, CEO and founder of the company, says GCI has several decades’ experience preparing for hurricanes.

He advises that glass and glazing shops in the area remove all electronic equipment up from the floor and away from windows and doors. He also recommends closing all doors before leaving the building so that if one area is breached by the storm, the damage is more likely to be contained.

For active jobsites, it’s important to secure any loose items.

“It’s better to install glass rather than moving to a storage area because storage areas are more vulnerable,” he says.

“It’s also important to take pictures of everything before the storm, such as the building, equipment and offices,” says Beers, adding that if a company needs to make an insurance claim it’s good to have documentation. “They should also have copies of their insurance policies in an accessible place.”

Having a contractor on speed dial for repairs post-hurricane could help with any potential recovery needed. Beers also says that it’s important to establish alternate means of communication, such as cell phones, for employees and key customers.

Beers has already called his company’s employees in the current strike path to see if they need help with anything and to address any personal concerns they may have.