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Protecting Your Business From Extreme Weather [AUDIO]

Photo Courtesy Flickr User _snapp

Hurricanes and gale force winds might not seem like a common place occurrence in the Garden State, but the Hurricane Irene and the recent storms in Atlantic County show the area is not immune to extreme weather. The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety is warning that businesses, especially those in strip malls, need to take precaution by conducting a simulation of extreme winds.

Joseph King, spokesperson for the IBHS says will construct a full scale commercial wind test at the IBHS headquarters in Richburg South Carolina.

“Basically we’re going to construct two brick and mortar buildings inside of our twenty one thousand square food test chamber. One building will be strengthened in certain vulnerable areas while the other building is being constructed to more common practices.”

Both structures will be subjected to extreme winds which King says will show the affect of how “the value of the stronger safer construction. Adding just a few critical touches to a building can really help that building.

Key Construction Differences

Building Component Wind-Resistant Building Common-Practices Building
Roof Cover Enhanced perimeter anchorage of membrane to limit failure Typical roof membrane attachment
Flashing/Roof Cover Edge Securement Metal fascia crimped over continuous metal cleat Unsupported metal fascia / no metal cleat on part of building and intermittent cleat on remainder of building
Walls Walls built following industry guidance with proper detailing to create continuous load path from roof to foundation Typical poor detailing / missing reinforcement
Rooftop Equipment Secured to structural mounting curbs which are secured directly to the structural steel frame of the roof deck = open web bar joists Secured on sleepers with only 4 small aluminum connectors at base; sleepers are loose laid on roof, no connection to deck
Warehouse doors Wind-rated 9’ metal roll up door with wind stops to keep door from popping out of track Non-wind Rated 9’ metal roll up door without wind stops

King notes that by employing the changes, you are not only keeping your employees and customers safe, but you are able to stay open at a time of catastrophe, serving your community.

While many business owners might assume that hurricanes or tornadoes are the biggest culprit of the dangerous winds, King warns that straight force wind gusts from storms can approach seventy or eighty miles an hour and be just as devastating.
“All you need is a couple of very strong gusts to come through, they can do everything from tearing pieces off your building. They can compromise the roof cover and once the roof cover is compromised you have a whole host of other issues.”

He notes often times businesses owners are reluctant to spend the additional money to make wind proofing repairs. Often which are very costly in the long run.

“I think it’s a combination of concern over the cost and it’s also a little bit of hurricane amnesia. The greatest thing that happens with these natural disasters is that there’s a mentality of “it doesn’t bother me until it affects me.”

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