Disaster Preparation Guide for Winter Storms
Guest Post by James Gilbert who is the Document Service Director of Polygon, a global property restoration firm. In addition to their restoration services, Polygon works with businesses to establish disaster preparation plans through their Code Blue program. With over forty years of experience, Polygon delivers a quick Response, absolute Reliability and outstanding Results with all of their disaster remediation services.
Disaster Preparation Guide for Winter Storms
Disasters can happen anywhere, during any season and they often come without warning. Statistics show that up to 70 percent of businesses do not think they are at risk for a disaster, so they often do not make disaster preparation plans. However, the truth is that as many as 40 percent of businesses will not reopen after a major disaster.
Floods are the top type of natural disaster in the U.S. Even if your company isn’t in a flood zone, it can still be at risk of flooding during the winter. By knowing the risks and how to prepare, you can help keep your business, employees and customers much safer.
Winter storms and freezing temperatures can put your business at risk for the following types of cold weather disasters:
· Ice jams: Severe flooding caused by pieces of ice obstructing the flow of water in rivers. These can also occur when ice freezes on a roof.
· Snowmelt: Quickly thawing snow can create a large amount of runoff water. If the ground is still frozen, it will not absorb the water. Instead, the water may flow into bodies of water and cause flooding. The situation can become worse when spring storms hit.
· Frozen pipes: The pressure of water expanding in pipes as it freezes can cause them to burst, causing severe water damage.
· Coastal flooding: Heavy winds may push water levels up in a body of water, causing a storm surge.
Winter Disaster Preparation
Disaster preparation is the most effective when you pair it with restoration plans. As you develop a plan with other company employees, keep human resources, physical resources and business continuity in mind. The following are tips that managers can use to help facilitate this process:
· Assemble a team of employees to help create an emergency disaster plan. Designate one employee from each shift to work as a safety coordinator who can act quickly if a disaster happens.
· Hazard identification. Have the team identify natural and technological hazards that can happen in your area, as well as the possible outcomes of each. The company’s respective city hall may have a list of natural hazards and emergency routes that your employees can access.
· Know how to prevent hazards. After identifying hazards, have the disaster preparation team create checklists that explain how to mitigate them. For example, an action item may state to hire a plumber to insulate pipes that are at risk of freezing. Another action item may be to hire a contractor to install safety lights, or to have employees elevate documents and electronics off the ground when there is a flood warning.
· Have the safety coordinators create checklists of important documents and records. If your business faces water damaged documents, having a list to reference will help to accelerate the process of locating all crucial documents and tending to the most important ones right away.
· Consider digitally storing paper documents. Employees or a professional service can scan and save essential documents online or to an external drive. In conjunction, using a digital storage service allows you to retrieve these documents via computer, tablet or smartphone. Better yet, they are stored offsite in a secure location.
· Make a plan to recover physical assets. After a flood, dangerous molds can take over within 48 hours. Have the disaster preparedness team make a checklist of what to do if the company experiences flooding that include items like shutting off the power, immediately calling a predetermined disaster restoration service and moving wet documents to a dry location.
· Plan for continuity. Work with a disaster preparedness company to list the ways a disaster could affect employees, customers and the building. The goal is to have a plan in which the company can continue doing business if the area around the building is closed. The plan should also include the items that will be needed to serve the company’s customers if the facility is closed. This may include goods, materials and equipment needed to setup an emergency satellite office, or tools employees may need to work from home.
When it comes to disaster restoration, it pays to plan. While it takes time to create an emergency disaster plan, the investment will help secure the future of the company and its employees.