Hurricane Preparedness Workshop Offers Insight on Weathering Florida’s Strongest Storms

Parish and school leaders are learning new ways to prepare for hurricane season during a series of workshops – the first of their kind in the Diocese of Orlando.


Parish and school leaders are learning new ways to prepare for hurricane season during a series of workshops – the first of their kind in the Diocese of Orlando.

The Diocese of Orlando Office of Risk Management, in partnership with Arthur J. Gallagher, insurance provider for the diocese, and Belfor Property Restoration, the preferred contractor of the diocese, has hosted Hurricane Preparedness Workshops in five of the diocese’s deaneries. Geared for facility and business managers, the two-hour event was designed to teach parishes and schools how to prepare and respond to storms and the proper claims submittal process. The Diocese of Orlando is comprised of 93 parishes and missions, 37 schools and additional entities such as Catholic Charities of Central Florida and Bishop Grady Villas.

“The Diocese of Orlando is committed to ensuring that our entities are prepared in the event of a hurricane or other catastrophe,” Tracy Dann, risk manager, said at the workshop held at Father Lopez Catholic High School in Daytona Beach on July 9. “This workshop is intended to give leaders at each parish the tools to protect their properties before a hurricane, restore operations after a storm, and properly submit a claim. Of course, we are hoping for the best, but are preparing for the worst.”

Mark Waring, assistant area vice president for Arthur J. Gallagher, was the keynote presenter at each of the events, held between June 27-July 13 at Ascension Parish in Melbourne; Father Lopez Catholic High School in Daytona Beach; the Chancery Building in Orlando; Church of the Resurrection in Lakeland; and St. Timothy Parish in Lady Lake. About 150 people attended in total.

Referring to the diocese’s “Hurricane Preparedness Plan”, available on the diocese’s intranet in the Risk Management folder, Waring said there are measures that parishes should take beforehand to possibly minimize damage and discomfort in the event of a storm.

Waring said parishes should clean up only what is necessary to operate safely, adding that volunteers are apt to offer their services in the days that follow. He cautioned the group that volunteer use should be minimized to simple debris removal and answering phones.

“Most of the cleanup will need to be done by licensed and insured contractors. The Diocese has a contract with Befor Property Restoration, but you are not obliged to use them. Should you use a different contractor, they must be able to provide a certificate of liability,” Waring said, adding that volunteer contractors can offer their services for major cleanup duties, but they, too, must show a certificate of liability.

The workshop concluded with a brief presentation from Adam Mrozek of Belfor, who highlighted the services his company provided.

“This workshop opened my eyes as to what I needed to do in the event of a hurricane,” said Sean O’Dell, principal at Lourdes Academy in Daytona Beach. “It made me answer some hard questions about how we would respond in the event of a catastrophic storm. I will be implementing the ideas I learned today.”