How to Protect Your Business During a Windstorm

contributed by Zurich Insurance

Your first concern during a severe storm is personal safety. Depending upon your type of business, you may decide to keep some employees on site during a storm. If you decide to allow employees to volunteer to remain onsite as an Emergency Response Team (ERT), ensure that local authorities will allow it. You should follow all mandatory evacuation orders.

If you keep an ERT onsite during the storm, you may want to consider the following:

  • Carefully determine whether the location, design and building construction make it a safe place for ERT members to remain during the storm
  • The ERT members should be trained in all aspects of the emergency action plan and include representatives with decision-making authority as well as knowledge of facility operations
  • Security personnel may also be required on the ERT
  • Prepare an ERT supply kit that includes items necessary and immediately after the storm, including:
    • Two-way radios
    • Portable AM/FM radios
    • Flashlights and lanterns with plenty of  batteries
    • Rubber boots and gloves
    • Blankets or sleeping bags
    • First-aid kit
    • Spare clothing
    • An adequate supply of shelf-stable food  and water to last at least 72 hours
    • Anticipate loss of electrical power and municipal drinking water for several days following the storm.
    • Conduct drills to test all aspects of the action plan on at least an annual basis. Ensure the plan reflects current conditions at the location. Request feedback from ERT members to assess the effectiveness of the plan and identify areas for improvement.
    • Develop storm-tracking procedures and ensure the ERT is capable of monitoring conditions using various media and equipment (e.g., radio, TV, Internet and portable phone).
    • If the facility is in an area exposed to flooding or storm surge, develop specific response procedures as part of the emergency action plan to manage the water exposures.
    • During the height of the storm, the ERT personnel should remain in a location that has been secured from wind and flood.
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