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Spring storm preparation tips—protect your business, employees, and pocketbook

GardenSpring is on its way. And with the warmer temperatures and longer days comes the threat of storms that can bring hail, lightning, high winds, flooding, and tornadoes. It’s something that can cause a lot of damage to your business. But there are things you can do to help lessen your risks.

Be prepared

Don’t wait for storm season to arrive, prepare now. Set up emergency procedures that can help save lives, inventory, and property. They should include emergency instructions, safety guidelines, and a chain of command. Make sure they’re understood by everyone on your staff.

If you don’t have a plan, start making one now. Don’t forget to include other staff members in the planning process. And be sure to practice your plan—like tornado drills—regularly so new workers are aware of what to do and their response is automatic.

Secure your property

Keeping your property clean not only leaves a good impression, it’s also good safety advice. Even though greenhouses can withstand winds up to 100 mph, it takes a lot less wind to throw those extra flats and pots around.

To help keep things safe and secure, consider doing the following when it’s spring cleaning time:

  • Make sure all bracing supports and greenhouse coverings are secure
  • Clear drainage systems of debris to aid rainwater flow
  • Pick up loose items on the property so they don’t become projectiles
  • Keep an inventory of all the plants you have

If you have enough warning, consider placing valuable plants in trucks and trailers and park alongside sturdy structures ahead of a severe storm with strong winds.

Be ready for power failures

Storms can lead to power outages, which can impact many aspects of your business. Here are some things you can do ahead of time to deal with power outages:

  • Make sure circuit breakers are clearly labeled
  • Have a generator on hand with adequate wattage to run essential equipment
  • Have fuel on hand for the generator
  • Keep all emergency equipment properly serviced and in working order

Also, be sure to unplug computers ahead of severe storms and install surge protectors on computer equipment for an added layer of protection.

Protect your data

Your equipment isn’t all that needs protecting. Having your files on a damaged computer system doesn’t do you any good. That’s why it’s important to back up your data on a regular basis and keep copies off site. This will:

  • Assist you in the restoration of your operation
  • Provide you the necessary documentation to file an insurance claim

By taking a little time now to copy files, it could save a lot of headaches later.

Safety after a storm

Once the storm passes, there can be new hazards. Damaged structures and equipment pose another set of risks. Secure damaged structures so customers, random strangers, and even employees can’t enter.

Make any possible temporary repairs to protect crops against the elements, such as fluctuating temperatures, precipitation, or the effects of direct sunlight. That means having extra materials on hand at all times.

Get in touch with your agent

If a storm damages your business, you need to talk with your claims department as soon as possible to begin a thorough investigation.

Take photos or video—or both—of the damage and don’t forget to make a detailed a list of the damaged items, including the value. It’s even more helpful if you have receipts.

Remember, now is the time to look at your current coverage—before storms become an issue. Review your insurance policy to make sure you have protection for any buildings, structures, vehicles, equipment, personal property, and crops that are part of your business. Then, keep your policy up-to-date and notify your agent of renovations or new structures on the property.

Your Hortica agent is ready to answer your questions and advise you on the best ways to minimize your risk. Talk with them today.

Related links:

For more information on safety preparation for your business, check out the Hortica Resources section.

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Focus on greenhouse best practices with our Structurally Sound program. We’ll show you some ways to help maintain your structures.