Ask most people what comes to mind when they think of spring and summer and they’ll probably say great weather. Ask EMC Risk Improvement Representative Jeremy Gallo, and he’ll tell you about floods, high winds and other weather conditions that can cause damage. “Floods, in particular, are one of the most common hazards throughout the United States,” explains Jeremy. “Some floods can develop in minutes without any visible sign of rain.”
In addition to helping businessowners in Chicago, Wheaton, and Alsip, Illinois develop emergency action plans for severe weather, Jeremy investigates after-incident damage to assess how losses could have been prevented. Jeremy offers the following suggestions on how to prepare your business for severe weather events:
- Invest in a weather app—A simple weather app on your smartphone provides up-to-the-minute alerts and warnings, giving you more time to take the appropriate actions before severe weather hits.
- Clean storm drains—Debris from winter can quickly build up around storm drains, preventing them from doing their job properly. Add this task to your spring cleaning checklist to avoid water buildup.
- Go paperless—Make it a priority to convert paper files to electronic files. Store data on a networked physical storage drive or in the cloud. This will allow mobility in the event that your business is compromised by a flood or storm.
- Make key personnel mobile—Provide key personnel with a laptop, tablet or smartphone so they can manage job functions from any location.
- Create an employee phone tree—Each employee should have the phone numbers of several other employees to quickly notify them of emergencies and updated work instructions.
- Raise vital equipment—Raise or flood-proof heating, ventilation and cooling equipment to prevent damage to these essential and expensive building components. Raising them will also allow continued operation in the event of rising waters.
- Don’t stockpile hazardous materials—If possible, purchase the smallest amount of hazardous materials during the flood season to reduce the amount of materials that could contaminate waters.
- Review your emergency action plan—Don’t have a plan? Work with your EMC risk improvement representative to create one.
- Train and test—Educate your staff about your emergency action plan and test their ability to take appropriate action with emergency drills and exercises.
According to the Small Business Administration, roughly 40 to 60 percent of businesses never reopen following a disaster. “Having surveyed businesses following a loss, I know firsthand that focusing on storm preparedness rather than recovery can make a difference,” concludes Jeremy.
We are ready to help your business prepare for spring and summer weather. You can find the following helpful documents in the Loss Control section at www.emcins.com:
Please call with questions.