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5 tips to help protect your business from tornadoes

December 29, 2017

Help minimize injuries, property damage and business losses during tornado season.

tornado

According to the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the United States experienced 1262 verified tornadoes from January through September of 2017. That compares with 971 for the entirety of 2016, and 1177 for all of 2015.

NOAA data listing storms breaking the billion-dollar threshold included a February 2017 tornado outbreak in the Central and Southeast regions of the United States ($1.8 billion) and another in the Midwest in March 2017 ($2.1 billion). Numerous other outbreaks may have failed to break the billion-dollar mark, but accounted for many millions of dollars in damage to businesses and homeowners.

Clearly, tornadoes are among the most destructive, costly and unpredictable severe weather events. So, if you are not preparing your business for the next tornado season, you may be missing an opportunity to consider ways to make your business more resilient.

Check out these five tips you can start implementing today:

1) Plan in advance to help protect people.

  • Identify the safest areas in a building so employees know where to congregate in the event of a warning.
  • Designate roles and responsibilities of supervisors and employees, including the appointment of a tornado warden.
  • Practice for an event with tornado drills.
  • Post signs in public buildings to direct customers and visitors to safe areas.

2) Take actions to help minimize property damage.

  • Secure outdoor gear and outbuildings to prevent them from becoming airborne missiles.
  • Reinforce vulnerable areas of a building, such as added supports to garage doors and bracing and strapping the roof.
  • House servers and other vital equipment in protected areas of a building, preferably in tornado-resistant server rooms.
  • For new construction, work with an architect or contractor to incorporate wind mitigation techniques and high wind-rated products.

3) Prepare to help maintain business continuity.

  • Address how employees will communicate, and where they will work.
  • Address how manufacturing and other critical business operations will continue until a damaged building is repaired or replaced.
  • Address how data and information technology will be restored how supply chain logistics will be maintained.

4) Monitor threatening weather.

The National Weather Service provides local weather broadcasts over a radio network called NOAA Weather Radio from over 1,000 different transmitters worldwide. These radios are for sale for businesses and buying an NOAA Tone Alert Weather Radio can help monitor weather.

5) Take warnings seriously and act quickly.

Every warning should be taken with the utmost seriousness, and appropriate measures should be taken immediately to protect lives and property.

Insurance

Most property insurance policies provide insurance protection for tornado damage to both business and personal property. These policies also may cover costs to remove, clean up and dispose of debris after a tornado. Companies also should consider time element coverages, especially Business Interruption and Extra Expense, which cover lost business profits and the additional expenses to keep a business running while insured property is being restored or replaced.

Even if a company is damaged by a tornado, its business still may be disrupted if suppliers are damaged and unable to deliver goods to the company, or customers are damaged and are unable to receive goods. Contingent Business Interruption coverage can provide insurance protection for this scenario. Companies should work closely with their brokers to identify their tornado-related exposures and to assure they have enough of the right coverages.

Contact your insurance provider for more information on weather-related insurance.

Download the Five tips to help every business become tornado-aware.

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