Wind, water and hail are the big risks when storms and hurricanes threaten. Your roof, windows and doors are the most vulnerable to all three. Be sure you have covered the basics by assembling emergency supplies and creating a disaster business continuity and recovery plan.
Be sure your roof is in good repair. Berkley Asset Protection recommends having a roof maintenance plan implemented by a quality professional contractor. When an emergency happens, your roof will be in good repair to withstand the storm and you will have a reputable “go to” contractor to contact in the event of damage. Your roof maintenance plan should include the roof covering, roof flashing and roof drains. Be sure roof gutters are installed and in good repair.
Windows and doors
There are practical limitations to the performance of any typical commercial glass system or window protection, which underscores the need for a disaster plan and appropriate insurance.
- When possible, install impact-rated windows designed and certified to protect your building from both wind pressure and wind borne debris. These windows also may provide resistance to a burglary attack, another key consideration that could reduce your insurance premium.
- Install roll-down or accordion shutters.
- As an alternative, have metal or polycarbonate panel shutters available to install when a hurricane is forecast. Install permanent fasteners long before storm warnings, so shutters can be put in place quickly.
- Plywood attached to the outside of windows is a last-minute option. The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety recommends:
- 1/2 in. to 3/4 in. CDX plywood available in 4’x 8’ sheets. Orient Strand Board (OSB) is not recommended. Use two layers of 3/8 inch material to obtain the same effect as one layer of 3/4 in. material. Plywood should not be used to cover openings larger than 4’ x 8’ unless additional framing is added.
- Anchors and fasteners for masonry or wood installation. Pre-install anchors for quicker assembly when a hurricane threatens.
- Peel and stick weather stripping to attach to top and sides of panels.
- Seal gaps in windows and doors with caulk.
Note: Taping glass does nothing to address the main point of protection – keeping the glass intact.
Assure that water will drain away from your building. This usually means a combination of roof gutters, drain spouts and property grading.
Depending on your building location, consider placing sandbags against your building or in front of doors. By placing sandbags against the structure, you avoid creating a dyke that could hold water in, rather than letting it drain away.
Because most business insurance doesn’t cover flooding, consider flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.
Be proactive! Keep your alarm system in tip-top shape.