Local SERVPRO® disaster recovery professional spotlights resources to help property owners plan in advance for potential severe spring weather
With spring around the corner, Trevor Rossum, SERVPRO of Douglas & Otter Tail Counties, encourages property owners to be prepared for potentially severe weather. Spring weather can be unpredictable, with wide temperature swings and extreme weather changes—sometimes within a 24-hour period. Thunderstorms along with the lightning, tornadoes and flooding they can bring, cause most of this severe spring weather. Thunderstorms can occur anywhere in the U.S., even in spots that don’t experience them often.
“Home and business owners need to be aware that severe weather conditions can develop rapidly and hit unexpectedly, so it’s important to plan ahead,” says Rossum. “By the time you hear about an approaching storm, you may have little or no time to prepare for it. The time to prepare is now, before severe weather occurs.”
The National Weather Service (NWS) also stresses the importance of individual and community preparedness for extreme weather events. Their National Seasonal Safety Campaign1 seeks to inform the public about seasonal weather hazards during the time they are most common. For the NWS Spring Safety Campaign that means the period from March 1 to June 1, encompassing Hurricane Preparedness Week from May 5-11, 2019. For each season and its related threats, the NWS provides no-fee Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) to a user’s WEA-capable phone when severe weather is expected (Warning) or possible (Watch) at or near the phone’s location.2 For the spring season, these alerts include thunderstorms, tornadoes, flood and excessive heat along with tsunami warnings and rip-current statements for coastal residents and visitors.
“As disaster remediation specialists, we know how important advance planning and preparation can be not only for surviving an unexpected event, but also for recovering from it once the threat has passed,” says Rossum. “Follow the advice of the experts: prepare an emergency kit that includes an emergency evacuation or shelter plan, a first aid kit, a three-to-five day supply of water and food, personal hygiene items, medications, blankets and pet supplies, if you have pets. Be sure to include important contact, insurance, utility and medical information stored in a reliable and accessible place like the SERVPRO Ready Plan App3 or other readily available spot. Having these critical items available to grab and go in both your home and car allows you to quickly move to safety and then take immediate steps toward recovery once the emergency is over.”
While it’s important for families and individuals to heed the safety advice of the NWS as the spring severe weather season approaches, it’s also important for businesses to prepare for the threats of the new season. “For businesses, advance planning for severe weather and other unexpected events can mean the difference between surviving or closing their doors forever,” according to Rossum. “As many as 50 percent of businesses close down following a disaster, unable to survive long periods of business interruption caused by a disaster and its aftermath. To help address this problem, SERVPRO developed their Emergency READY Profile (ERP).4”
Business owners work with their local SERVPRO franchise professional to implement their ERP, beginning with a no-cost facility assessment and employing online tools to document critical facility, contact, and line-of-command information. Having this information in a central, easily accessible location helps facilitate the prompt, appropriate and efficient response that SERVPRO knows is critical to getting a business back in business as quickly as possible.