High winds can severely affect people and property. And not just a little bit. In the 1800’s relentless plains winds drove prairie settlers plumb crazy. Californians today experience hot, dry Santa Ana winds that whip wildfires to roaring frenzies. The ceaseless middle eastern scirocco, a Mediterranean wind that comes from the Sahara, can reach hurricane speeds for days without intermission in North Africa and Southern Europe, especially during the summer season. Recent wind driven fire in Maui wiped out the lovely town of Lahaina with significant loss of life.
“Today, high wind is rated as the top cause of property damage expenses,” says Caleb Brunz, President of Paul Davis Restoration of Greater MSP, Minnesota. “It’s a powerful force that uproots trees, tosses structures and is capable of destroying almost any built item humans can invent. Commercial buildings are frequently at high risk. Fortunately, five precautionary measures reduce property owners’ chances of falling prey to wind.”
- Reinforce building envelopes: Repair roofs, anchor external fixtures like gutters, and strengthen doors and windows. Additionally, securely fasten external systems like air handlers, particularly systems mounted on rooftops. It’s not uncommon for sizeable objects in exposed locations to dislodge and tumble across flat roofs, inflicting extensive damage.
- Manage landscaping: Clear debris that could become airborne. Trim trees, paying particular attention to branches that could strike buildings if they fall.
- Secure outdoor items: Fasten down exterior furniture, check and secure sign mountings and anchor waste containers. Any of these – no matter how heavy they are – can become blown projectiles in high winds.
- Shield outdoor assets: Are work vehicles and equipment exposed to weather? High winds can fling debris against vehicles, breaking windows and pitting finishes. Consider garaging them temporarily or relocating them to safer locations until winds die down.
- Review coverage and response plans: Check insurance coverage for wind damage by contacting your agent. If the property at risk is commercial, contact Paul Davis for a free Emergency Preparedness Plan. Tailored to individual businesses, EPPs comprise information specific to property and operations, such as emergency contacts, preferred trade and supplier partners, specific mechanical room information, locations of shutoff switches and a variety of additional details you will need in an emergency.
“About 40 percent of businesses closed by disasters never reopen,” says Brunz. “And of those that do reopen, most had emergency plans in place. But whether it’s a commercial or residential property, our experts can help get you ready for high winds before the high winds strike.”