Whether it be hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones or another type of windstorm – contractors never know when they’ll hit. When the worst happens, small business owners can be in a world of hurt.
Windstorms can have a disastrous effect on company offices or jobsites. Small business owners have a lot to lose when damaging storms come through. Property damage and business interruption are typically covered by insurance coverage, but time out of business can hurt the company’s reputation, which can lead to a loss of market share.
Every business needs to be ready. Here are 10 steps to prepare for a windstorm.
1. CREATE A PLAN
Write down exactly what needs to happen if a windstorm does hinder the business. Detail exactly who in the organization is responsible for what. Assemble any emergency supplies that could be required. Then put together a list of contractors, vendors and other services that could come in handy during an emergency.
2. SECURE THE PERIMETER
Make sure the outside of the building is prepared for a storm. Fasten down any and all loose equipment. Move items indoors if needed. Remove any large trees or limbs that could damage any buildings in the area during a windstorm.
3. TAKE CARE OF THE ROOF
Inspect the roof and make sure no repairs are needed. A roof can take a lot of damage during a windstorm so make sure it is in excellent shape.
4. FUEL UP
Before the storm hits, fill up gas tanks of fire pumps, generators, equipment or company-owned vehicles so they don’t run out of gas during a time of emergency.
5. PROTECT WINDOWS AND GLASS
Any window or door that has glass must be protected. Find these areas and attach pre-fitted windstorm shutters. This will seal the perimeter, which ensures no broken glass.
6. PROTECT ELECTRONICS
Computers, machinery and all electronics will be damaged if water reaches them. Right before the storm, try to cover all electronics with a plastic tarp and move things to a safe location. Backing up data is also essential.
7. WATCH FOR CHEMICALS
Are there chemicals on hand? If so, make sure they are properly and safely stored. If not, a storm could cause such chemicals to react in a violent manner if they come together accidentally.
8. PREPARE FOR THE FLOOD
Vulnerable openings around buildings should be covered with sandbags. Electronics should be moved to a higher elevation and covered with a plastic tarp. Turn off the electricity in the building once the storm and flood are nearing.
9. TURN IT ALL OFF
If the storm is nearing, turn everything off. From electricity to gas lines to all flammable sources – make sure everything is off.
10. UNDERSTAND INSURANCE
After the storm has hit, check the insurance policy, including type and level of coverage. Different events can be insured in different manners in certain locations. This includes landslides, tree damage, flash flooding and more. Small business owners have a duty to ensure their business is properly covered by any threat, especially windstorms.
Anthony Kammas is a Partner at Skyline Risk Management, Inc. He serves as the secretary-elect of the Professional Insurance Association (PIA) of N.Y., is a member of the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Hellenic American Leadership Council. With over a decade of property and casualty experience, Anthony is an industry leader specializing in real estate and construction insurance. In 2015, new construction costs in New York City for residential projects grew to an all-time high of $18 billion. Anthony and Skyline Risk Management procured insurance for almost $1 billion of that total cost in 2015.
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Other brokerages take a cookie cutter approach to insurance and outfit their customers with generic coverage. Skyline is different. We believe insurance should be built on innovation and experience. We appreciate the fact that every engagement is unique and understand proper coverage requires a deep understanding of the underlying business and individual.
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