ORLANDO, FL – July 30, 2018 – Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida last September as a Category 4 hurricane. Although it exited as a downgraded tropical storm, it is the state’s most expensive hurricane to date. Less than two weeks afterward, even Hurricane Maria left its impact, later resulting in a statewide influx of some 300,000 Puerto Rican residents fleeing the devastation from their island. At the Inteplast Engineered Films – Orlando plant, where several staff members provided temporary shelter for their Puerto Rican relatives, preparation is essential. Here’s how the plant braces itself for hurricane season.
IEF President Dave Clarke noted the unpredictability of acts of nature. “IEF works hard to minimize those effects. Last year was like no other. Please listen to what the local news, radio, and state agencies are saying so that you and your family are safe and secure during and after such events.”
Direct Staff in Stages
Richard Stephan, IEF- Orlando operations manager, keeps staff abreast through the facility’s “Stages of Preparedness.” An Emergency Assessment Team (EAT) updates management, which then accordingly disseminates information.
- Awareness (72-60 hours): The EAT monitors calculated path of storm.
- Standby (60-48 hours): The EAT continuously updates all departments.
- Decision (48-45 hours): The EAT has gathered enough information for management to assess aspects of shutdown and schedule/shift delays.
- Preparation (45-33 hours): Equipment and structure is secured prior to evacuation.
- Evacuation (36-4 hours): EAT informs staff of worst case scenario, adjusted schedules, shutdown time, and directs employees as to when they should not arrive.
- Storm Event (0 hours): All staff has evacuated and taken appropriate cover or refuge.
- Recovery: Post-hurricane, assessments are made, acknowledgements for compliance with safety are given, and action steps for resuming normalcy are communicated with staff.
Shortly before plant shutdown, computers are moved to windowless rooms and bay doors are reinforced with resin boxes from the inside. Power, gas, and water main supplies are turned off.
Post-Hurricane Assessment of Structural Damage
Plant supervisors assess the facility. Personal protection equipment (helmets, safety glasses, flashlights, etc.) is used. Plant startup occurs only when all aspects of safety, machine use, and power are cleared.
It is IEF Films’ suggestion that all manufacturers inform staff of internal protocol for extreme weather scenarios in advance, and not for the first time – during, or just before – an act of nature demands it.
About Inteplast Group
Established in 1991, Inteplast Group is a leading integrated plastics manufacturer founded on the ideal of American manufacturing. Our products support diverse markets including healthcare, foodservice, packaging, building products, grocery, retail, sanitation, industrial, and graphic arts industries. Headquartered in Livingston, N.J., Inteplast Group is now over 7,000 employees strong and operates over 50 facilities including our flagship manufacturing complex in Lolita, Texas. Our dedicated and experienced people are committed to delivering quality products and partnering with our customers to enable their success. Visit https://www.inteplast.com for more information.