Natural and Manmade Disasters

Plan for Specific Disasters

It's critical for you to protect your business by identifying potential risks from natural and manmade disasters. 

Wildfires

To reduce the risk of your business becoming part of a wildfire:

  • Maintain a 30-foot "combustible-free" zone around your facility. Remove any trees and combustible material, such as brush. Keep grass mowed and irrigated.
  • Consider the use of flame-resistant building materials when building or renovating
  • Keep the roof and gutters clear of debris
  • Attach nonflammable, fine-gauge screening over all chimneys

Tornadoes

To prepare for a tornado:

  • Assign an employee to be responsible for monitoring weather alerts
  • Establish interior, preferably basement, locations for employees to gather. Bathrooms, corners and short hallways are safest.
  • Remember, a "watch" means a tornado could happen and a "warning" means you should take immediate cover
  • Keep surplus blankets in a shelter area

Hurricanes

To prepare for a hurricane:

  • Have a method of notifying employees concerning work status before and after the storm hits
  • Protect windows with storm shutters or install plywood over them. Put masking tape over windows to reduce the risk of flying glass.
  • Consider evacuating vehicles in advance of the storm. Put them in a garage or keep them outside, away from trees or other potential falling objects.
  • Bring outside signage, furniture and decorations inside
  • Remove damaged or diseased limbs from nearby trees
  • Unplug all equipment and turn off the gas, electricity and water

Floods and flooding

Most standard insurance policies do not cover flood damage and the resulting loss of income. Check with an insurance agent on how to ensure adequate protection. To reduce damage and ease clean up:

  • Use flood-resistant building materials
  • Check with local authorities to learn the 100-year flood level of your structure
  • Consider working with a licensed contractor to raise your electrical and HVAC system above the 100-year flood level mark
  • Keep computers, electronics and important files raised off the floor
  • Consider working with a licensed plumber to install a backflow valve to prevent sewage backup
  • Be prepared to move critical items above the flood level during a flood watch

Earthquakes

To protect against earthquakes:

  • Refer to your local building officials to ensure that your facility is up to code
  • Use natural gas lines with flexible connections and automatic shut-off valves
  • Use flexible water lines and/or couplings to toilets, sinks and in sprinkler systems
  • Secure equipment, including computers, to the floor or walls to prevent tipping
  • Make sure anything with a drawer or door, such as filing cabinets, has latches with a manual release