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Zurich is here to help you protect your employees and your business from the damaging effects of windstorms, weather and natural disasters. Our goal is for our customers to be the most prepared and the first ones back in business after an event.

Discover actionable tips from our experienced risk engineering team to help you:

  • Update your emergency action plan before an event
  • Safeguard your employees during an event
  • Mitigate damage and property loss after an event

Before an event

5 "musts" before a storm 


1. Personnel safety is priority #1

  • Protect employees while they work at heights
  • Enforce lock out/tag out procedures and electrical safety
  • Use good material handling practices while moving equipment or making preparations
  • Monitor work surfaces to help prevent slips, trips and falls among workers, customers and emergency service personnel  
people at conference table

2. Business continuity begins with your people.

  • Consider activating work-from-home procedures and limiting non-essential travel
  • Be conscious that some employees may be scrambling to find childcare if schools in your area are closed 
Roof Edge System

3. A clogged roof drain can actually collapse your roof. 

Leaves clogging gutters on roofs and sewer systems on the ground have the potential to collapse your roof or back water up into your basement and ground floors.

  • Have your roof professionals clear gutters and contact local authorities to clear sewer systems before the storm
  • Make any necessary roof repairs now to help prevent more damage later  
blue truck

4. Be supply chain savvy. Most major American retailers, manufacturers and distributors rely on a functioning supply chain and must understand their vulnerabilities in the event of a disruption. For example, The American Association of Port Authorities ranked the New York/New Jersey area as the third largest container traffic port in 2012 (Savannah, GA was fourth). If a mega storm were to shut down these ports, companies that had previously established appropriate contingencies will have a better chance of recovery.

  • Have your suppliers' (and, if applicable, their suppliers') information handy, and review your backup plans in the event of a supplier disruption
  • A supply chain healthcheck may help identify potential kinks in your chain  
file safe  

5. Collect and protect critical information.

  • Take your policy documentation and other important documents with you in the event of an evacuation
  • Make certain your servers are in a secure area and move to a higher elevation if possible 

During an event

Focus on worker safety during the event

Your first concern during a severe storm is personnel safety. Depending upon your type of business, you may decide to keep some employees on site during a storm. Hotels, hospitals and other types of facilities may also have others besides employees on site.

If you decide to allow employees to volunteer to remain onsite as an Emergency Response Team (ERT):

  • Verify that local authorities will allow your ERT to remain on site, and follow all mandatory evacuation orders.
  • Determine whether the location, design and building construction make it a safe place for the ERT members to be during the storm.
  • Make sure ERT members are trained in all aspects of the emergency action plan.
  • Include ERT representatives with decision-making authority and knowledge of facility operations. Also add security personal to the ERT, as required.
  • Prepare an ERT supply kit with items necessary during and immediately after the storm; Two-way radios, Portable AM/FM radios, Flashlights, lanterns and plenty of batteries, Rubber boots and gloves, Blankets or sleeping bags,First-aid kit, Spare clothing, Enough shelf-stable food and water to last at least 72 hours
  • Anticipate loss of electrical power and municipal water for several days after 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 mobile 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 water exposures.
  • During the height of the storm, make sure the ERT personnel remain in a location that has been secured from wind and flood.

After an event

Mitigate damage and property loss after the event

Once the storm is over, you begin the task of getting your business running again as quickly as possible. At this point your primary focus should still be on personnel safety. Secondly, you should be doing everything possible to mitigate further damage or property losses. Here are the key steps you should consider taking after a major windstorm:

  • Start with safety. Check with local authorities to find out if the area around your building and the building itself are safe to enter.
  • Conduct a hazard assessment.
  • Report fire protection system outages to Zurich. Access the Zurich New Impairment Notification website to report the outage.
  • Perform emergency repairs, such as boarding up broken windows and openings, placing tarps where needed to prevent water damage and restoring water service.
  • Separate damaged contents from non-damaged.
  • Prioritize key resources and equipment to save.
  • If the loss site must be altered to minimize further damage, take detailed photographs to document the damage.
  • Report your claim as soon as possible.
  • Contact restoration contractors identified in your pre-season planning.

Zurich is here to help

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