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Topics: Loss Control
Mother Nature can wreak havoc on your commercial property. Heavy rain and high winds can severely damage or destroy your roof, gutters, roof-mounted equipment, exterior signage and other objects kept outside like display racks or trash cans. Being proactive with your summer emergency preparedness is a key to helping to avoid, or at the very least, reduce the amount of loss suffered to your small business and its commercial property during severe weather.
The severe weather season typically begins June 1 and ends in late November, depending upon your location. When this season comes around, make sure to keep a watchful eye on the upcoming weather forecast on a regular basis. If a severe storm is approaching, stay informed with the updates provided by local media and your area’s public officials on the progress and the potential severity of any storms. Other resources to consider are several reputable smartphone applications that can come in handy to alert you of thunderstorm cell activity and lightning strikes in your area.
If a severe storm is inevitably going to hit your area, then it’s time to get started on securing your small business property.
Begin with the outside by relocating any materials or equipment that could move during the storm, such as signs or displays, to a secure area. Move any vehicles your business may have to a safe location, such as a covered garage.
Check for any loose or missing roofing materials – these areas are vulnerable to high winds and allow for water penetration. Make sure to have these fixed by a professional as soon as possible. Also, check for any gaps around flashing or locations where objects are secured to the roof, such as antennas. These issues should be addressed immediately.
Remember to check your drainage system, such as your gutters. Clear them of any dirt, debris or leaves that could cause them to clog up, leading to excess pooling of water and potential roof failure and water damage. Also, check the gutters themselves by making sure they are anchored tightly so they can resist the effects of high winds.
If your small business property has exterior glass frontage, be sure to move items away from the windows and clear out that section as much as possible.
Unplug equipment, lamps, appliances, and other electrical devices, and cover up important equipment with plastic bags. Move any boxes, equipment, file cabinets, etc. that are normally kept on the floor to an elevated area. In the event there is any flooding, items left on the floor could be damaged.
Make sure all communication devices as well as laptops and other essential electronics are fully charged before taking them with you. Create multiple back-ups or copies of electronic files, and store records off premises as much as possible.
Installing a generator is a great way to prepare for the possibility of power loss and to help reduce business disruption. It enables your small business to continue operating some or all of your electronic equipment and lights. It can help avoid or reduce commercial property damage from high heat and humidity, as well as freezing temperatures. Additionally, it can help minimize or eliminate the threat of food spoilage.
Remember to regularly check and service your generator so it will be ready at a moment’s notice. As part of storm preparation, it is recommended that you ensure immediate access to fuel for powering generator.
Lastly, but most notably – take measures to protect your most important asset: your workforce. Close your office at a time that allows your employees ample opportunity to safely travel home, so that they can secure their home and prepare for the storm.
Commercial package loss control is a multi-faceted process that varies by the type of business, region of the country, the season and other factors. AmTrust is here to help. Check out our commercial property protectionsection of our website, as well as our other loss control resources. Also, check out our blog post “Create Your Own Hurricane Management Plan” for additional information and tips on preparing your small business for severe weather.