There are a lot of myths floating around about thunderstorms, but when your workplace is faced with one of these summer storms, your collective safety relies on knowing the facts. Learn the risks associated with thunderstorms and how you can keep yourself, your staff and your business safe with these tips from the experts at ServiceMaster Restore®.
How thunderstorms can threaten your business
Thunderstorms are always accompanied by lightning. With lightning comes potential power surges, structural damage, hail, flash floods, powerful winds and even destructive fires. According to Ready.gov, lightning is even the leading cause of injury and death from weather-related hazards. The National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) estimates that about 100,000 thunderstorms occur annually in the U.S. alone, making it crucial that business owners know how to prepare for and respond to these storms before the unexpected happens.
The potential effects of lightning and thunderstorms on your business include the following:
Lightning starting a fire
According to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), lightning causes an average of 22,600 fires every year, resulting in several injuries, deaths and roughly 451 million dollars of direct property damage. With so many risks associated with fires, it’s important to watch the storm carefully. If lightning causes a fire near your facility, call emergency services immediately.
Lightning causing power surge damage
Another risk of thunderstorms is power surges. If lightning strikes a power line, telephone wire or your office itself, it can create a strong burst of electricity that travels through the wires and harms your electrical devices. Power surges can damage or even permanently destroy your computers, telephone systems and any other plugged-in appliances inside your business. To stay safe during a thunderstorm, do not let employees operate electrical equipment. Instead, have staff shut off computers and stay away from items that put them in direct contact with electricity.
Lightning causing structural damage
Structural damage from a thunderstorm comes in various forms. If lightning strikes a tree and it falls on your business, you could be dealing with shattered windows, a damaged roof or even injuries and fatalities. You may also face structural damage from direct lightning hits or lightning-related fires. If you experience any type of damage that leaves areas of your building open to the elements, you may even see damage caused by rainwater or floodwater entering through these compromised spots.
How to prevent lightning damage to your business
While lightning may seem unpredictable and unstoppable, there are steps you can take to reduce your chances of lightning damage. Use these tips to help keep your business safe from thunder and lightning:
- If you know a thunderstorm is approaching, unplug all of your office’s electronic devices beforehand to prevent power surges.
- If you suspect that your building was hit with lightning, call the fire department immediately to avoid significant damage.
- Install surge protection devices or grounding systems at your office.
- Consider installing a lightning rod on your building to direct lightning strikes to one safe space.
- Trim any trees or large branches that risk falling on your business during a storm.
- Train your staff about the threats of thunderstorms and what they need to do if one approaches.
In the event that your business did experience damage from a thunderstorm, know that you’re not alone. The experts at ServiceMaster Restore are ready 24/7 every day of the year to help get your business up and running as soon as possible. Use our commercial weather damage clean-up services to minimize your company’s impact and down time with a restoration solution that fits you, your employees and your business.