Spring has arrived! It’s a season of warmer temperatures, allergies, and, as insurance professionals will attest, an increased chance of experiencing severe weather that may result in significant property damage.
March is the start of peak hail season, which continues through June. As a self-storage business owner, there is nothing you can do to prevent a storm, but you do have the ability to plan ahead and make preparations in the event that severe weather comes your way. This type of risk avoidance is a key part of your overall risk management strategy and may help to prevent or minimize costly repairs in addition to ensuring the physical safety of your staff.
According to the National Weather Service, one of the first items on your checklist should be to develop a severe weather safety kit consisting of a battery-operated weather radio, a map to track the progress of storms, a battery-operated radio and/or television, sturdy shoes, identification, and a cell phone. You may also wish to consider adding an extra set of keys for company and personal vehicles. If you haven’t done so already, create an emergency contact list including local fire and police departments, your insurance agent (be sure to note all policy numbers), and your staff members.
It is also an excellent idea to take the time now to identify vendors in case you need repairs following a weather event. Select licensed, insured contractors and talk to them about the availability of and their access to materials following a storm. You may be able to work with them to secure a priority position, meaning that the vendor guarantees to put your facility at the top of the company’s list to respond with service and materials to make temporary repairs following a severe storm.
Store the severe weather safety kit in your designated storm shelter along with hard hats or helmets and items such as sleeping bags, pillows, and blankets to help protect against flying debris. If you have access to an underground shelter or basement, that should be the first choice for your storm shelter. An above-ground reinforced safe room is also a good option if underground shelter is not available. If no underground or reinforced shelter is available, choose a location that is as close to the ground and as far inside the building as possible while being away from doors, windows, and outside walls.
Spring storms and the damage they can cause are a challenge for self-storage operators. Planning ahead and following good risk management practices are excellent steps to help reduce the impact on your business. The Federal Emergency Management Agency offers additional tools and information for businesses at www.ready.gov/business.
If you are planning to attend the ISS World Expo in Las Vegas, I hope you will stop by the MiniCo booth. In addition to the trade show, I will be speaking on the topic Covering Your Assets: The Essentials of Self-Storage Insurance. This informative session will address topics such as choosing insurance coverages and limits, optional coverages, reviewing your policy and premiums, and choosing an agent. I look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas!
President and CEO