There is no way to eliminate all the damage from a violent tornado, straight-line wind or other powerful storm, however, business owners can take steps to protect employees and visitors, reduce damage to property and minimize losses associated with business disruptions.
Damage from severe thunderstorm winds account for half of all severe reports in the lower 48 states and is more common than damage from tornadoes. Wind speeds can reach up to 100 mph and can produce a damage path extending for hundreds of miles.
MINIMIZE DAMAGE FROM WINDBORNE DEBRIS
- Remove trees and branches that could fall on the building walls or roof or on power lines.
- Inspect and repair loose or damaged building components such as siding, soffit and fascia, shingles and roofing, brickwork and brick chimneys.
- Avoid using built-up roofs with aggregate or pavers on the surface.
RETROFIT BUILDING DURING A REMODEL OR BUILDING UPGRADE
- Brace and strap the roof.
- Add recommended fasteners, ties, reinforcements, roof covering and anchors as building components are modified and maintained.
- Make entry doors and overhead doors more wind-resistant.
- Build a safe room to protect against tornadoes.
PROTECT YOUR EMPLOYEES
- Prepare and disseminate an emergency plan describing what supervisors and employees should to do as a storm threatens. Practice these procedures through tornado drills.
- Purchase a weather radio with local discrimination capability. Monitor weather conditions so employees and customers can move to secure locations when necessary:
- A tornado watch means PREPARE NOW; the conditions are right for a tornado to form.
- A tornado warning means TAKE COVER. A tornado has been spotted on the ground in your county or moving toward your county, or weather radar indicates a high probability of a tornado existing.
DURING A TORNADO – IN A BUILDING
- Keep exterior doors and windows closed to minimize rain and flying debris. Closing interior doors will also help to compartmentalize the building and provide more barriers between your employees and the storm.
- Go to a pre-designated area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of a small interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck.
- Never shelter in rooms where there is an outside wall, particularly those with glass windows, or where the ceiling or roof has a span between supports of more than 40 feet.
- In a high-rise building, go to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
- Put on sturdy shoes.
- Do not open windows.
DURING A TORNADO – OUTSIDE
- Immediately get into a vehicle and buckle your seat belt. If there is time, drive to the closest sturdy shelter. If your vehicle is hit by flying debris while you are driving, pull over and park. Never try to outdrive a tornado in urban or congested areas.
- In a stationary vehicle, cover your head with your arms and a blanket, coat or other cushion if possible.
- If a vehicle is not available, lie down in an area noticeably lower than the level of the roadway and cover your head with your arms and a blanket, coat or other cushion if possible.
- Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
- Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.
BE PROACTIVE! DEVELOP A PLAN AND EXECUTE!
For additional Loss Control tips visit BerkleyAssetPro.com/risk-consulting.
Executive Vice President
Assistant Vice President Claims & Loss Control
Resources: Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety: www.disastersafety.com;
NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory: https://www.nssl.noaa.gov/education/svrwx101/wind/