Severe weather affects us all. Every region of the United States is prone to one or more natural hazards. It’s important for business owners to plan for potential interruptions, such as weather events, to help reduce losses, jump start recovery and re-open the business as quickly as possible.
To help you get started, find out the truth about some common Mother Nature myths. These six myths are based on information provided by the safety experts at the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS).
1. In high winds, roofs are damaged the most often. It’s true. Roof cover damage is present in 85 to 95 percent of wind-related insured property losses each year, according to IBHS.
2. Open windows to equalize pressure during a tornado. Do not do this. The internal pressures build up and put pressure on ceilings and the roof, which is also getting uplift pressures from external wind forces. This can lead to the entire structure collapsing. When it comes to tornado safety, every second counts. Take cover as quickly as you can. The safest place in a building is in a small, reinforced room (such as a bathroom or closet) near the center of the building or home, on the lowest floor (preferably below ground). Even safer is a tornado safe room.
3. Tape windows with a big X before a hurricane. Taping glass does nothing to address the central point of protection. It does not keep the glass in its frame or securely attached to the home or building.
4. Lightning never strikes the same place twice. False. The truth is lightning often strikes the same place twice, especially if is it a tall pointed object, such as the Empire State Building, which is hit nearly 25 times a year.
5. Frozen pipe risks go away when temperatures begin to warm. Frozen pipes may burst only when temperatures start to warm. When a pipe freezes, the frozen water may act as a plug, allowing any problems to go unnoticed. Before checking to see if you have any issues when temperatures increase, shut off the water supply to reduce your water damage risks and call a professional plumber for help.
6. Flash flooding only occurs along flowing streams. Not true. Flash floods can occur in dry creeks or riverbeds as well as urban areas where no streams are present.
It’s important to plan for any potential business interruptions, and a business continuity plan can help. By gathering information needed for any type of disruption and defining the steps required to keep the business running in its aftermath, a business can continue to deliver its critical products and/or services, even if there is damage to its facility, inventory or operations.
IBHS has created OFB-EZ™, a free business continuity planning toolkit to help businesses translate professional continuity concepts into an actionable plan. To download OFB-EZ, go to disastersafety.org/open-for-business.