Is your property prepared for severe weather? 3 Tips on reducing risk and ensuring peace of mind

Businesses overwhelmed by flood waters in Columbia, South Carolina. Photograph:

August 25, 2021 – Hurricane season is in full swing for Southeastern states and will likely continue until the end of November. Although miles from the direct impacts of coastal hurricanes, the Midlands still receives its fair share of severe thunderstorms, high winds, and flooding.

After the “1,000-year flood” of 2015 exposed the vulnerabilities of many commercial and residential property owners, it’s more important than ever to be prepared for the worst. Taking the necessary steps to prepare for severe weather will greatly reduce the risk of long-term damage to your property and provide peace of mind in an otherwise chaotic moment. Read more on some precautions you can take now to protect your assets from a worst-case scenario:

1. Understand risks for your area

High winds, storm surges, torrential rains, and tornadoes are all threats during hurricane season – any one can damage your property at risk and it is important to know the unique risks your area faces. The FEMA Flood Map Service Center allows you to view whether your area is susceptible to flooding and storm surges.

It may also be useful to hire the help of a licensed professional to conduct a property inspection and determine if your facility needs to be retrofitted to reduce vulnerabilities.  

2. Plan ahead for your business

For business owners, it is critical to ensure there is a plan in place for your staff, property, and clients in the wake of severe weather. Create a contact list of all your employees which can be accessed outside of the office, to maintain contact after an emergency. You’ll also want to make a list of important contacts such as major clients, insurance companies, and suppliers.

Brainstorm a communication strategy for before, during, and after the storm. Keeping customers and staff informed can help reduce loss to business during a difficult time. This could be in the form of email blasts, contacting clients directly, or posting notices at your property.

You will also want to review your insurance policy to ensure your business is adequately covered for severe weather. Take thorough photographs or videos of the premises before and after the storm to help substantiate any insurance claims.

3. Preparing your property as the storm approaches

A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for your area. There are several steps you can take to prepare your property for impact including:

  • Clear drains, gutters, and downspouts to ensure adequate drainage during the storm
  • Secure or remove antennas or other objects on the roof
  • Bring in displays and outdoor signs
  • Clear loose objects from desks and tabletops
  • Remove wall hangings
  • Place important records in a safe, elevated location
  • Disconnect electrical appliances and equipment
  • Close windows and board them up if needed
  • Lock all entrances to the building as you exit

View an in-depth, printable checklist.

After the storm

The moments after a storm are just as critical as the preparation beforehand. Damaged buildings pose many safety hazards such as leaking gas, live wires, or pipe damage. All personnel should be informed of the procedure after a storm passes and only re-enter the property after a designated emergency response team has assessed the property.

While no plan can 100-percent protect against the effects of severe weather, taking the necessary precautions can help reduce risks and stress in the moment, so that you can face the season with confidence that your property is best protected.

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About DeWees Real Estate Group

DeWees Real Estate Group is a full-service commercial real estate firm located in Columbia, SC and Canton, OH. We specialize in Columbia and Canton’s Office, Retail, Industrial, and Land markets from acquisitions, to leasing and management.  Our team utilizes state of the art software and marketing materials to make sure our listings are getting the highest and best exposure available to o­ur clients in the marketplace.