If you manage a business in areas prone to inclement weather, there are several ways to build readiness into your facility. This will not only protect your employees and business trends operations but could enable you to assist your community in times of great need. Severe weather threats from hurricanes, cyclones, or even winter storms can include direct threats from high winds and precipitation as well as indirect threats from debris and power outages.
In presenting its Central Government Emergency Response Training Course, the government notes that it’s not enough to simply have an emergency plan; you’ll need to follow through with training and exercises to test and prepare employees. Conducting training exercises will ensure safety items are accessible and in working order, supplies and systems are adequate and functional, and employees understand what duties are expected of them in an emergency. Know what local authorities to contact or monitor in times of crisis and have a clear chain of command for on-site decision makers.
The International Code Council maintains standards for the design and construction of storm shelters under ICC 500. This standard addresses protection from rain and wind loads, flooding, fire hazards, and accessibility. Upgrading existing facilities with doors and windows able to withstand high wind loads is one of the most common renovations.
Even if your building hasn’t been exposed to a cyclone or hurricane, tropical depression, tornado, flood, or fire event before, now is the time to perform a site assessment to determine what changes can help the survivability of the structure that houses your business. In some cases, grants or tax credits are available to businesses who make these updates.
Rain and flooding
Even if your business is not immediately near a body of water, poor or impeded drainage systems can cause rainwater to back up during excessive rainfall or snow melt. Businesses with a flat roof can be the most vulnerable to a quick buildup of precipitation, so be prepared with water pumps or snow removal gear to prevent collapse or localized damage.
Even a few inches of floodwater on the ground can have a major impact on your operation, so consider logistics for obtaining sandbags if a major storm is in the forecast. Businesses near coastal areas need to take incoming tides and predicted storm surge into account along with expected rainfall totals that will be flowing outwards. The ability to move equipment to a mezzanine level or attic storage can save money and reduce downtime.
Sump pumps, climate control, the ability to communicate, and storage of perishables all rely on electricity, which can be one of the first services lost in high wind and flood conditions. Even in the absence of storms, heat waves have become more frequent and can cause life-threatening blackouts. In times like these, having any one of the diesel generators made by Welland Power on-site can save lives and keep your business running while the surrounding community is offline.
Water and food rations
General guidelines in various regions of the UK, US, and Caribbean suggest people maintain water and food supplies sufficient for one week when severe weather threatens. On the mainland, your employees should keep rations for their household, but if your business is on an island, maintaining an extra supply of food and water can bridge the gap in your area when local emergency services are overwhelmed.
Debris, downed trees, and lingering floodwaters may prevent employees or first responders from getting in or out of your business after severe weather strikes. Depending on the severity, it can take multiple weeks for roads and property grounds to be cleared or water to recede, so have a contingency plan for inbound and outbound deliveries, including ways to get diesel fuel to keep your generator running.
Weather-related disasters are on the rise across the globe; forward-thinking businesses prepared for severe weather can save costs, downtime, and most importantly, lives.