Cemetery Disaster Management Advice

February 25, 2020

From hurricanes to major storms, cyclones to long, drawn-out winter snowstorm seasons, the world continues to experience a wide variety of natural disasters as well as those spurred on by humans. And with the greater northeast commonly finding itself under a blanket of snow this time of year, it’s important to note that natural disaster issues can play a major role in the overall integrity of a cemetery’s grounds.

Disaster management is something that should be discussed and planned around for cemeteries. Knowing how to plan for a disaster as well as how to handle it after it ends are important things for cemetery leadership to know in order to limit risk and uphold as much of the cemetery’s heritage as possible.

A risk-informed approach can help you better understand objectives and develop alternatives that allow everyone involved to make decisions as to how best to protect cemetery grounds and meet disaster mitigation plans.

A Look at Disasters in Your Cemetery

Cemeteries can be affected by a number of hazards, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, mudslides, earthquakes, flooding and more. And with the majority of the United States resting in multi-hazard zones, there are so many different risks to plan around, not to mention day-to-day risks, such as homelessness, vandalism, and crime.

Hurricanes can hurt a cemetery through wind damage and water damage. From trees being uprooted to branches breaking and toppling on top of monuments and tombstones, a cemetery’s grounds can be ripe for destruction.

When an earthquake hits, they can hurt the entire cemetery grounds by altering burial units and moving floors. And flooding can come in and completely ruin underground utilities and vegetation. What’s more, caskets can be moved, creating additional risks for a cemetery.

One way to combat this is to prepare with cemetery insurance, which can not only help provide funds to clean up messes after disasters and repair issues but can also help with legal costs if someone whose loved one’s grave was harmed brings claims against your cemetery.

Evaluating and Planning for Disasters

The first step is to evaluate your risks given your region and climate. This will help anticipate what you can plan around. This will also help to eliminate any risk that isn’t likely, such as a wildfire in the middle of an urban cemetery.

Take notes of your entire grounds and look for things like slow draining after a storm or where trees are placed. This can help cut a clear picture of what can possibly be harmed or cause harm during a natural disaster.

It’s also important to outline the potential recovery efforts and time period it would take to get back up and running. Does your cemetery survive by volunteer help only? Are funds set aside to stay in operation during cleanup? Asking these questions and evaluating your entire list of risks can help you be as prepared as possible before disaster ultimately strikes.

Also, be sure to have the right point of contact for when disaster hits. Who should you contact and who is in charge of assessing the damage? Having a running list of responsibility roles can help stay on top of recovery.

About Regan Agency

A family-owned business, Long Island-based Regan Agency has more than 35 years of experience serving the library insurance and risk management needs of Tri-State residents and businesses. We have earned the trust of our clients based on our integrity and commitment to offer individuals and businesses quality library insurance products at competitive prices backed by unparalleled responsive service. Just give one of our professionals a call at 631-669-3434.