Hurricane Matthew is already making landfall in the Caribbean, and forecasters are predicting the Category 4 storm, said to be one of the most dangerous storms since 2007, will hit the coastal U.S., threatening homes and businesses.
“It’s been nearly 10 years since a hurricane of this magnitude has made landfall,” said Brion Callori, senior vice president, engineering and research, at FM Global, one of the world’s largest commercial property insurers. “If your business or property is in the path of Hurricane Matthew, your resilience, or lack thereof, determines your fate.”
When Hurricane Katrina struck 10 years ago, businesses that followed FM Global’s loss-prevention advice sustained eight times less damage on average than those that didn’t. An approximately US$7,400 investment in risk improvement ahead of Katrina helped those companies avert an average US$1.5 million in losses, and get up and running within days, in many cases.
FM Global encourages businesses to consider the following four tips when preparing for Hurricane Matthew or any severe storm:
Preventing water damage
Relocate vehicles, electronics and other high-value items to a safe area so they’re operable after a flood. Store other items above the floor on pallets, shelves or storage racks. Protect large stationary machines from water damage by filling sandbags and placing them around possible water entry points. Cover equipment with large plastic sheets or a water-displacing, rust-preventive compound.
Mitigating wind damage
Outdoor objects become missiles during hurricanes. Anchor or stow furniture, trash receptacles, fencing and signs. Trim trees that threaten buildings. Purchase storm shutters or plywood to protect windows and doors against wind and flying debris.
Obviating building damage
Fix deteriorating roofs and buildings. Replace missing fasteners on roof-mounted equipment, secure roof flashing and ensure all drains are clear. Anchor roofs and tie down equipment that could collapse or become severely damaged. Applying additional fasteners at the perimeter and corners of a roof – where it’s most vulnerable – can prevent it from detaching and peeling back.
Defending against service disruption
Alert authorities and utilities about any roads or services that may be disrupted by the storm’s path. Place contractors and equipment-repair companies on stand-by, and make sure a salvage crew is prepared to take action. Reduce the chance of fire during expected flooding by shutting off electricity and gas. Install barriers around sprinkler risers, yard valves and hydrants to protect them from floating debris.
For additional information on preparing for natural hazards, visit http://www.fmglobal.com/nathaz.
About FM Global
Established nearly two centuries ago, FM Global is a mutual insurance company whose capital, scientific research capability and engineering expertise are solely dedicated to property risk management and the resilience of its client-owners. These owners, who share the belief that the majority of property loss is preventable, represent many of the world’s largest organizations, including one of every three Fortune 1000 companies. They work with FM Global to better understand the hazards that can impact their business continuity in order to make cost-effective risk management decisions, combining property loss prevention with insurance protection.