The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasts the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season to be near-normal with regards to the number of named storms and hurricanes. The NOAA predicts between 9 to15 named storms of which 4 to 8 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 2 to 4 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). It’s more important now than ever to prepare for hurricane season to protect your family, properties, and self from disaster.
Preparing for severe weather (e.g. hurricanes, tropical storms, and torrential downpours) can make a difference in how quickly you respond. Don’t wait until a hurricane is approaching before considering your family's preparedness. History teaches that a lack of awareness and planning are common threads among all major hurricane disasters. Knowing your vulnerability and what actions you should take can reduce the effects of a severe weather disaster.
Continue reading on how to prepare your home and family for a hurricane,...more
Historic flooding threatened to inundate homes and businesses in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and surrounding areas in late May. Upon seeing that the city had set up a sandbag distribution point at Oral Roberts University, Cotton Team members jumped into action.
Cotton employees from Houston who were in the region to assist with restoration work picked up shovels and assisted the city, filling sandbags for residents who needed them. The heavy rains and flooding reminded them of the devastation and subsequent help after Hurricane Harvey.
"The same way we received help from Oklahomans during Harvey, we wanted to come and help,” explained Josh Rios, Cotton supervisor.
Read more at TulsaWorld.com.more
May is National Building Safety Month, an annual awareness campaign presented by the International Code Council. This year’s theme is “No Code. No Confidence.” The campaign, now in its 39th year, reinforces the need for the adoption of modern, regularly-updated building codes, and helps individuals, families and businesses understand what it takes to create safe and sustainable structures.
Cotton can bring buildings into code compliance and improve their safety before damage and losses can occur. If your building hasn’t been inspected recently for code violations, call Cotton today to request a walkthrough. In addition to code compliance, we can discuss and update your business continuity plan in the event of a disaster or emergency. With our experts’ help, you will have complete confidence in the safety of your business.
With hurricane season...more
The start of Hurricane season is weeks away, but severe weather doesn’t stick to a calendar. When spring comes, so does damaging winds, an increased threat of tornadoes and flooding rains. Be prepared for another year of severe weather with these tips:
- Communicate with your employees: You should already have an emergency plan, but do all of your employees know it? Do they know how to prepare and where to go? Communicate your emergency plan every year at the start of severe weather season.
- Refresh your emergency kit: For those who may have to ride out a period without power, make sure you have supplies that work. Check food expiration dates, refresh bottled water supplies, replenish anything that has been used.
- Have emergency phone numbers in writing: The aftermath of destructive weather can be chaotic. Post emergency phone numbers in a place where your employees can access them: utilities, insurance companies, company leadership and other important stakeholders.
An excerpt from Cotton’s EVP of Risk Management Lance Ewing’s column from Best’s Review
Alan King, the comedian and actor, once quipped, “the other day my house caught on fire. My lawyer said, 'Shouldn't be a problem. What kind of coverage do you have?' I said fire and theft. The lawyer frowned. 'Uh oh, wrong kind of insurance. Should be fire OR theft.'” Or so the story goes.
Insurance policies are truly claims policies. Insurers pay their premium with the anticipation that the claim will be paid when the loss occurs to their business or property. Yet many times, that is not the case.
When there is a claim dispute, many corporate risk managers and homeowners jump from receiving the denial of the claim to “Let's sue the insurance carrier.” A better philosophy for a denied property claim would be: Negotiate, mediate, arbitrate and only then litigate. Litigation against an insurance carrier should be the arrow of last resort in the quiver. Litigation puts the outcome of the dispute in the hands of a third party and removes the decision-making from the two...more
You already know that Cotton will be there for you in an emergency, but did you know that Cotton will also be there for you when you’re ready to spruce up your business? If you’re looking at aging decor or spaces that no longer work for your growing company, we also shine at construction projects and quality interior renovations.
Benefits of choosing Cotton:
- A single point-of-contact for your entire project
- Assurance that your building can remain occupied and functional while construction is ongoing
- Off-hours construction for completion of loud or disruptive projects
- Flexibility to add projects as work progresses
- Professional, safety-focused workforce
Services we provide:
- Finish work
- Energy efficiency upgrades
You know that we are experienced in being an agile company, so you can rely on us to get your project done efficiently, correctly and on-time. Contact Cotton today to start building the future of your...more
Two years in a row of destructive hurricanes have proven that having a business continuity plan is vital for the health and success of any organization. Disasters come in all shapes and sizes, anywhere in the world, and any iota of preparation can save lives and minimize disruption of your operations.
Cotton can help you refresh your business continuity plan with our first-hand knowledge of current and future risks. Our experts have helped businesses through many scenarios; here are just a few that your business should consider:
- How long can your business survive an operational interruption?
- When was your corporate emergency plan developed?
- Does your business have an alternate operations center if your primary workplace becomes inaccessible?
- What would happen if you lost temporary access to your company’s financial assets?
- Are all hazardous chemicals contained in compliance with current health, safety and environmental standards?
There is much more that Cotton can think through with you as you start the new year with...more
Safety is not just a requirement at Cotton, it’s a core principle. Our team encourages safe work practices at all times, on every job site. This holiday season, we encourage our clients and employees to stay safe at home, too. Here are some tips and reminders to help all of us keep safety top-of-mind:
- According to the National Fire Prevention Association, faulty electrical equipment is the cause of 40 percent of Christmas tree fires. Make sure there are no exposed or frayed wires, loose connections or broken sockets on your Christmas lights. And be careful not to overload your electrical circuits.
- Fireplaces are cozy, but they need to be used carefully. Get your fireplace cleaned and inspected for improper venting every year.
- Some decorative holiday plants can be poisonous and should be kept out of reach of children or pets. This includes poinsettia, mistletoe berries, holly berry, and Jerusalem cherry.
- The National Fire Protection Association reports that 12 percent of home candle fires occur in December. Don't burn candles near trees,...
As winter approaches, it's time to prepare your business for cold weather and storms. In addition to checking windows for leaks and ensuring your heating system is functioning properly, you should give some thought to your roof.
Roofing professionals advise businesses to get their roofs inspected not just once, but twice per year - ideally in the spring and fall. By doing so, you protect your company’s assets, ensure the comfort of your workers, and prolong the life of your roof.
Here are few other measures you can take as a business owner or facility manager to prepare your roof for winter and ensure year-round protection:
Gather all of your roofing documents into a file to easily access to all of your roof’s information. This will help you keep up with routine maintenance, repair history, warranty information and all of the details of your roof. Don’t let your roof’s information retire along with your facility manager!
In addition to regular inspections, it’s a good idea to have one performed after severe weather...
October 22, 2018
The Cotton Team cannot express enough how deeply sorry we are for any losses and we recognize how hard the struggle will be to rebuild from Hurricane Michael. Many have lost their loved ones, homes, belongings, schools, businesses and their livelihood. After seeing the storm’s devastation first-hand, we know how hard the struggle will be to rebuild, but we want to extend a heartfelt message of hope.
Cotton is in the region and has mobilized a Command Center in Panama City Beach. We have supplied public and private sectors with temporary facilities, backup power generation, catering, and emergency food services, as well as other logistical support. Furthermore, we are providing the necessary support to our clients in the region by restoring, remediating and reconstructing roofs and structures quickly.
I speak for the entire Cotton Team when I say that we deeply care about the people and communities we serve, and we pride ourselves in these moments to help them piece back their lives. You have lost more than we can imagine, and we want you to know...more
National Fire Prevention Week is an annual awareness campaign to educate Americans about fire prevention. This year’s campaign focuses on three steps to take in order to reduce the risk of fire:
LOOK for places fires could start: Take a comprehensive look around your business. Identify potential fire hazards, particularly your heating system and any kitchen facilities, and make sure you have adequate fire extinguishing equipment. Furthermore, pay close attention to appliances that have heating elements and make sure their piping and connections are new and maintained.
LISTEN for the sound of a smoke alarm: You could have only seconds to escape safely once a smoke alarm sounds, so don’t waste any time. Your life is more important than the email you’re...more
It has been one year since Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc on the lives of those living on the Gulf Coast, including the greater Houston area. While the region has shown its strength and resiliency, many are still in the process of healing, recovering and rebuilding following the devastation.
Education is a sector that was hit hard. Many school districts in the region were devastated by the storm, closing their doors and relocating for a period of time while also focusing on educating their students.
One such client was Bloomington ISD in Victoria County, Texas. Located just 40 miles from the coast, the district’s schools sustained massive damages resulting from the storm and had to undergo a large-scale remediation operation. Cotton was grateful to have the opportunity to help the school district through this tough time. What made the project the most rewarding was the response and gratitude we received from our client.
Misty Brasfield, CFO of Bloomington ISD, had some high praise for our Cotton men and women:
“These guys at Cotton have helped me get all...more
As Hurricane Florence’s destruction is far from over, please know that Cotton Global Disaster solutions have all who are in the path of the storm in our thoughts and prayers. While the full impact of the storm is uncertain, we hope all remain safe and can quickly recover. Cotton Global Disaster Solutions is on the ground in the Carolinas and providing critical services to help the region recover, reduce business interruption and assist clients with their business continuity plans.
The storm has been on the company’s radar for weeks through its 24/7 Emergency Watch Center, closely tracking its development and landfall while keeping clients alert of their safety and business continuity planning and implementation. While most were evacuating, Cotton deployed its full bandwidth of turnkey services - Disaster Recovery, Construction, Roofing, Logistics and Culinary along with strike and management teams to the region.
Florence made landfall on September 14th as a Category 1 Hurricane near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, with maximum sustained winds reaching nearly 90...more
When surfing the net, did you ever stop to think that someone may be staring back at you? As technology advances, more and more of our lives are intertwined with the internet through online shopping, banking, email communication, social media, and more. Being proactive provides the greatest protection against online threats.
Cotton wants to help you protect your privacy by providing a few online safety tips:
● Recognize that you are an attractive target to hackers.
● Practice good password management: 8 Character passwords are no longer sufficient. It’s best to use a long nonsensical mix of characters, numbers and symbols.
● Use a unique password for each of your accounts.
● Never leave your device unattended for any length of time – computer, phone, or tablet. Lock it up so no one can use it while you are gone. This includes USB flash drives...more
The heat this summer is inescapable, affecting almost every region of the United States. Whether you are walking to your car or performing a strenuous task at the job site, your body is always working to maintain a balance and sustain its core temperature. As the heat index rises above 103°F in some regions, there is a high risk of heat-related illness; therefore, additional measures to protect your body must be taken. Heat-related illnesses are a serious hazard especially for those who are working outdoors during summer months. Follow these hydration safety tips to ensure your health and well-being during these scorching months:
Don’t wait until you are thirsty
If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Instead, drink small amounts frequently at regular intervals: 8 ounces every 30-45 mins.
Carry a Drink Bottle
You are more inclined to drink when fluids are readily available. Aim to refill a 27 ounce drinking bottle at least once every hour.
Drink plenty of fluids in the hours...more
It’s finally summertime! That means most will opt to celebrate the season outdoors. Soaking in the sun can mean being out by the pool, beach vacations, cookouts, and other outdoor activities. However, when having fun in the sun it should also be second nature to take steps to protect yourself from UV radiation. Whether you’ve got a vacation coming up or simply spending time outside, we’ve got you covered! Safeguard yourself and your family this summer and stay healthy with sun safety tips and recommendations from the Cotton Safety Team.
- Cover up. Shield your skin from the sun’s UV rays by wearing long sleeves, wide-brimmed hats, and breathable pants. All fabrics block UV rays to some degree, but for the most effective protection invest in outdoor clothing that carries an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating. The UPF rating measures how well different fabrics block UV rays. The most effective UPF rating is from 15 to more than 50.
- Plan around the sun. It’s imperative to limit direct sun exposure during peak sun times...
June marks the official start of the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasts the outlook to be historically more active than years past. Cotton Global Disaster Solutions urges you to take steps to protect your employees and safeguard your business. It only takes one storm to change the course of your life and your company’s fate. Hurricanes are among nature’s most powerful and destructive phenomena. Emergency planning and preparedness for natural disasters is the key to a quick response and recovery when disaster strikes.
Cotton Global Disaster Solutions is here to help you weather through the storm. Start by downloading our Hurricane Business Continuity Planning and Recovery Guide.more
Before our Cotton Global Disaster Solutions teams initiate the response and recovery phases following a disaster, much activity happens behind the scenes in Cotton’s 24/7 Watch Department. Information and speed are key to efficiency in our line of work, and the Cotton Watch team is dedicated to being at the forefront when a disaster strikes. This department is a critical component of our overall disaster mitigation and recovery process and the attention to detail taken in their preparedness efforts are paramount to completing successful projects for our clients.
In disaster scenarios, the environment and conditions can change instantly. Because of this, up-to-the minute information is extremely valuable in planning and preparing your business and employees for disaster. Cotton Watch analyzes risk factors and criteria that have the potential to affect your facilities all around the globe. Through severe weather tracking, social media monitoring, geo plotting our clients’ complete property portfolio and utilizing proprietary techniques,...more
2017 saw unprecedented hurricane activity in the Western Hemisphere, wreaking havoc in the Southern Pacific, Caribbean, Gulf, and Atlantic. As Edmund Burke stated “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” In order to prepare for the upcoming hurricane season, Cotton Global Disaster Solutions recommends taking a look back at our 2017 Hurricane Season In Review. The infographic not only gives an extensive breakdown of last year's storm activity, and devastation, but also highlights Cotton's turnkey solutions and our multi-divisional response to the seasons quadruple punch.
Of course, the best planning doesn’t always safeguard us from the full wrath of Mother Nature, but proper measures can be taken to mitigate costs for your business. The devastation from these storms was catastrophic, causing billions of dollars in capital losses, operational expenses, infrastructure, and sadly, human life. In August, Hurricane Harvey affected more than 6 million people across Texas...more
Learn more about four Spring weather hazards to be prepared for
Spring arrives with generally warmer temperatures and lush greenery, however, the season can also bring severe weather. As temperatures can swing back and forth, with sunny days being followed by stormy nights, Cotton wants you to be aware of the dangers that may occur in this coming season. Take these steps to stay safe if severe conditions are predicted for your area that may affect your business.
THUNDERSTORMS Thunderstorms can cause the most severe weather bringing tornadoes, flooding, hail, and especially lightning. According to American Red Cross, lightning kills more people each year than tornadoes or hurricanes. Take thunderstorm watches and warnings seriously, as people may be harmed by either ignoring them or missing the signals.
- Identify trees that have weak branches that may be struck by lightning and cause damage to people, vehicles, or...
Give your business the ultimate gift and join Cotton's Preferred Client Program
February is a month where we show our love and affection to those who are special in our lives. Valentine's day is upon us and many have spent the last couple weeks thinking of creative ways to show how much they care. At Cottonwe think the same care, affection, and attention to detail that you put into planning your Valentine’s day should also be shown towards your business!
As with any great surprise, gift, or celebration, preparation is key. Prepare your business the same way by being prepared for possible disasters resulting in loss of work, capital, or your entire business altogether. Give your business the ultimate gift and become one of Cotton's “sweethearts” by pre-aligning your business continuity plan with Cotton's specialized recovery...more
We are pleased to announce that Richard (Rick) Leiby has recently joined the Cotton Commercial USA team as the Director of Construction Sales. This is an integral component of Cotton’s Global Disaster Recovery Division. He brings extensive client network knowledge that spans over 30 years providing synergies across most of the Cotton Holdings markets. Rick has held various positions of increased responsibilities since 1981 within the Schindler Elevator Corporation. Early roles included Application Engineering, Service and New Installation/Construction Sales, Project Management, District and Regional Sales Management in a 10-state territory, with eventual P&L responsibilities as General Manager in the Southeast Texas region. Previous corporate moves include offices in Philadelphia, Washington/Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and for the last 21 years, working in Houston.
Rick’s primary role at Cotton will be to secure new construction opportunities, focusing on the greater Houston region. He is eager and excited to provide his sales, business development and support...more
Put a business continuity plan in place in 2018
After deadly hurricanes, wildfires, and severe storms, 2017 was a year of unparalleled natural disasters while also being the most costly year on record for weather-related disasters in the United States. As 2017 has come to a close, and businesses analyze and reflect on the the past year, a good opportunity exists to implement new processes based on lessons learned. Cotton invites all of our clients and prospective clients to not only continue to prepare for unforeseen events, but also enlist Cotton’s turn-key solutions in order to achieve cost-savings following a potential disaster event.
The total economic impact of hurricanes in 2017 is estimated to be $370 billion in Texas, Florida, and the Caribbean. Not all these losses could have been prevented, but their magnitude could be much smaller. As an example, the economic loss is not only how much a commercial building was damaged, or how much it will cost to repair the structure, but...more
Despite facing major obstacles while being in a remote location, Cotton responds to the island of St. John.
While Cotton was responding to the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in our hometown of Houston, and other areas of Texas, two category 5 hurricanes hit the U.S. Virgin Island of St. John, in the Caribbean. Cotton quickly mobilized assets and personnel to respond to our clients in the affected area. Cotton is very proud to be involved in this project, and other ongoing efforts in Puerto Rico. The scale of the project combined with its geographic location has presented logistical challenges; however, Cotton has not compromised on our quality of work, and has learned considerably from this project.
Our client in the hospitality industry, tasked us to mitigate damage and restore 28 buildings, 33 pools, and the grounds of the 47 acre property and beachfront,...more
A South Texas University expresses gratitude after Cotton gets them back to class after incurring damages from Harvey
In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Cotton was heavily relied upon to help our clients in the Gulf Coast region recover. In the weeks since the cleanup and repairs, some have taken the time to personally thank us for a job well done through personal letters and emails. We know that it is our job to respond quickly and perform to the best of our ability, but hearing the support and appreciation from those who have had the Cotton service experience is always humbling.
As the season of giving thanks draws near, it is with pride that we share a quote from a University client in South Texas whose campus received an extensive amount of wind and water damage from Hurricane Harvey:
“With the storm approaching, I knew exactly who to call to put on standby. It was Cotton.”
After being put on notice pre-storm,...more
Precision and preparation are what set Cotton apart in emergency management
Getting a business or organization back online after a hurricane or other high-impact catastrophic event can be challenging, stressful, and costly. Consequently, after a disaster strikes, our clients receive expert attention to protect assets and determine a critical path of disaster recovery that will minimize their interruption to daily operations and their associated revenue loss.
Cotton Global Disaster Solutions is actively responding to the destruction from Hurricanes Harvey, Lidia, Irma, Nate, and Maria in areas across the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean. At the peak of operations, we were managing a workforce of nearly 3,000 people, all committed to providing our clients with comprehensive and speedy services to get them back to business.
Whether we are restoring a small storefront, a functioning hospital, or a multi-level commercial office tower, our clients will see Cotton GDS’s...more
September 12, 2017
As we continue to assess the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, it is with a heavy heart I write this memo. The thoughts and prayers of the entire Cotton Team are with all those affected by this storm.
The storm and its resulting damage has had a tremendous impact on Houston and the Texas Gulf Coast Region, and the cleanup effort in the affected areas will be formidable. The Cotton Team is already hard at work confronting this challenge.
The Texas gulf is our home. It is where Cotton began and where our home office and largest presence remains. Every day we see the impact of this storm on our neighbors, friends and family. We also appreciate the trust that you have placed with us over the years. Let me assure you, the Cotton Team is focused on responding to our clients’ needs in the fastest, most efficient way possible.
Cotton is working with our clients to assess their property damage, mitigate any further damage, and provide clean up assistance in accordance with environmental protocols. Cotton is also preparing to provide construction...more
Cotton GDS recovery teams are actively working in locations across the U.S., Mexico, and The Caribbean
The 2017 Hurricane Season has been very dynamic, with its intense storms and wide reaching activity across the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane Harvey left its devastating mark on the Texas Gulf Coast with three separate landfalls, while Lidia made landfall and caused significant impact to Mexico's Baja Peninsula in addition to flooding in the country's interior. The most recent hurricane, Irma, was equally damaging in the North Atlantic slamming multiple island nations as a Category 5 storm before moving onto Florida, bringing heavy destruction.
All of these storms have damaged the communities, people, and businesses for years to come. Cotton is proud to be a part of the recovery efforts in all of these areas with our turnkey solutions, and real time monitoring, tracking and response systems. Spanning the globe, our international services include:
- Flood & Water Damage Restoration
- Catastrophe Management
Cotton Global Disaster Solutions Website Gets A Facelift
Cotton Global Disaster Solutions has a new and improved website! To better serve our clients, the website features enhanced design with user friendly navigation, resources, and a wealth of information about services related to Cotton’s Disaster Restoration and Construction divisions. Our visitors will gain a better understanding of Cotton’s capabilities by:
- Reading up on all the services Cotton GDS provides -from disaster restoration to roofing, construction, and even catering
- Using our interactive map to learn about our vast coverage and strategically placed operations centers that allow us to respond to clients in a timely manner
- Reviewing the many industries Cotton GDS services, and how we specialize in your specific line of work
- Preparing your business and you in our “What To Do”...
Hurricane Matthew, a tropical cyclone that struck The Atlantic with full force in late September of 2016, brought widespread destruction and catastrophic loss of life. As this was a complex, multifaceted operation, it was necessary to utilize as many of Cotton’s capabilities as possible. Cotton International deployed our assets and team to the Bahamas soon after Matthew had passed to begin restoration support for our client. Over a course of three weeks, Cotton Culinary’s Emergency Food Service division provided approximately 20,000 meals for our client as well as to displaced families and local shelters. Cotton’s efforts effectively minimized the loss for our client and allowed them to return to normal business operations. It is a great honor to be called upon to deliver in times of crisis, and we believe that our turnkey, integrated solutions set us apart in the industry, while setting our clients up for success!more
June marks the beginning of The Atlantic Hurricane Season in the United States, a time when business owners who are geographically located in hurricane prone areas may suffer from “Hurricane Amnesia.” This phenomenon occurs when one is unprepared for the potential threat ahead due to previously inactive seasons that had no effect on their business. If a hurricane were to strike your city, can you ensure your business will survive? Follow these 5 ways to prepare your business for Hurricane Season:
1. Ensure your business’ roof can withstand the storm. Have the roof of your building evaluated to ensure it is structurally sound and best suited to endure heavy rains, hail and high winds that are characteristic of hurricanes.
2. Anchor large furniture and protect valuable equipment. Mount bookcases, filing cabinets and appliances to walls and floors to avoid further damage to your assets. Secure electronics such as computers and other office equipment with straps or velcro and cover with plastic. Remove...more
On Thursday June 22nd, Tropical Storm Cindy made landfall in the Northern Gulf Coast between Cameron, Louisiana and Port Arthur, Texas. According to the National Hurricane Center, Cindy had a real chance of doing serious damage to the Gulf Region. Thankfully however, these predictions didn’t come to fruition, and the storm resulted in only heavy rain and winds. Though Cindy didn’t cause major devastation, Cotton used the potential threat as a response training opportunity. Prior to Cindy’s landfall, Cotton exercised it's CAT deployment procedures by standing up an internal command, notifying on call staff and vendors, staging equipment, mobilizing first response staff, and staying in constant contact with clients who had exposure along the coast. “In these situations, we have many clients counting on us and it is our duty to be ready to respond and service their needs when the call comes in,” said James Scaife, President.
Cotton achieves success through strategic planning and execution on every project and event. While every successful job can be treated as practice while...more