IBHS Launches Severe Weather Preparedness Guide for Small Businesses

Recognizing the vital role small businesses play in thriving communities, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety has released a guide to help small businesses prepare for severe weather. 

The guide, Thunderstorm Ready-Business, applies years of scientific research from IBHS in a step-by-step procedure to aid small business and commercial building owners better understand their risk and actions to take in advance of spring storms. 

Implementing Thunderstorm Ready-Business can help business owners and operators reduce the impact of severe weather on critical business operations and facilities, including costly wind and water damage as well as business interruptions. The guide includes tasks, from do-it-yourself projects to larger improvements that may require consulting a local, licensed contractor, from the roof on the building to the sign out front, as well as a plan for operational disruptions.

“Preparedness and planning are key to reducing business disruptions from severe weather,” said IBHS Commercial Lines Engineer Chris Cioffi. “Thunderstorm Ready-Business outlines the key tasks small business and commercial building owners should consider today, before the forecast calls for severe weather. Meeting the needs of busy entrepreneurs and operators, it prioritizes the most vulnerable areas and actions that can have the most significant impact.” 

The roof is the first line of defense for commercial buildings to protect against high winds, heavy rain and even hail. The guide includes a detailed roof inspection guide to help small businesses assess the most important component of their structure. Highlighting eight areas of the roof to evaluate, the roof inspection guide provides business and commercial building owners the information they need to take an educated look at their roof. 

IBHS engineers create realistic weather conditions inside their one-of-a-kind research facility, gleaning insights on how to strengthen and prepare buildings for severe weather. More than a decade of research on full-scale buildings in the lab and post-event damage investigations in the field inform recommendations on the roof, roll-up doors, HVAC hail protection, and other vital components of the structure highlighted in the guide. 

Additionally, the institute’s business continuity and emergency planning toolkits, Open For Business-EZ and EZ-Prep, provide business owners with step-by-step guidance to prepare their people, facilities and operations for severe weather.