Last week, Winter Storm Uri wreaked havoc across the entire state of Texas, crippling the state's electrical grid and leaving millions of residents and business owners without power, water, or access to basic services. As the winter weather dissipated and businesses regained power, some returned to find costly damages and losses due to broken water lines, spoiled merchandise, and collapsed rooftops. For businesses impacted by winter storms, and for those that were thankfully spared from damage this time, today's Aegis blog post looks at lessons businesses can learn from the damage caused by Winter Storm Uri.
Winterize Buildings and Water Lines
One of the biggest lessons a business can learn from our state's recent weather catastrophe is the importance of winterizing commercial buildings and protecting water lines. With our region experiencing more extreme weather events, it's become more important than ever to take winter weather conditions just as seriously as hurricane season in the summer.
Winterizing commercial buildings can involve steps such as wrapping and protecting exterior water lines, shutting off and winterizing sprinkler systems, covering or bringing indoors any costly equipment that could be damaged by extreme cold, and shutting off and draining water lines to prevent costly pipe breaks if the business is forced to close. These steps can be taken when extreme weather systems are approaching, and can potentially save companies tens of thousands of dollars in repairs and revenue losses.
Regularly Inspect Commercial Properties
In addition to protecting commercial properties when winter weather is approaching, commercial property owners can take proactive steps to regularly inspect all facets of their property throughout the year. Regular inspections can identify potential problems such as roof leaks, older pipes that may need to be replaced, mold issues, and other building issues that can be addressed and repaired well before winter weather arrives again. Regular property inspections result in businesses that are better suited to handle extreme weather conditions without major damages, losses, or lengthy closures.
Develop Operational Contingency Plans
Finally, many businesses learned last week the importance of having a good contingency plan and supply chain in place when sever weather strikes. Businesses of all industries, but particularly restaurants and retail stores, can benefit from having contingency plans in place when extreme weather conditions or disasters force a company to pivot or make sudden adjustments. For example, restaurant contingency plans should include having additional food service vendors on hand in case theirs is unavailable due to weather, backup generators to protect refrigeration and prevent food spoilage during power outages, and reliable contractors on hand in case electrical, plumbing, or general repairs are needed. Also, companies should also have plans in place for monitoring commercial properties during severe weather, either through digital video systems or on-site security personnel to inspect and report any damages.
While the damage caused by Winter Storm Uri may be temporary, the lessons learned from its wake can be impactful and beneficial for years to come. Aegis Insurance & Financial Services is available to help Commercial Insurance clients assess existing risks, identify ways to mitigate those risks, and protect their commercial properties, employees, and long-term term future. Contact Aegis Insurance & Financial Services today at 713-850-7622 for more information, or fill out our online form to request additional information.