According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), about 1,200 tornadoes hit the U.S. each year.

As one of nature’s most violent storms that can cause death, injury and destruction within seconds, it is crucial to have a plan in place to protect your staff and customers in the event of severe weather.

Tornado Safety for Inventory Businesses

Tornadoes can develop in a matter of seconds and can stay on the ground for more than an hour.

An early warning system is the biggest factor for protecting life and property during a tornado. Often weather authorities, news outlets or local governments will send weather alerts to your smartphone, such as:

  • Tornado watches—Indicates that tornadoes are possible in the area, and you should remain alert for any approaching storms.
  • Tornado warnings—Indicates that a tornado has been sighted by trained spotters or indicated by weather radar.

Environmental cues can also warn you of potential tornadoes:

  • Dark and often green-tinted clouds and skies
  • Wall clouds
  • Large hail
  • Funnel clouds
  • Roaring noises

Tornado Preparation

Preparing for a tornado emergency takes a combination of planning, emergency equipment, team training and exercise drills. Here are some quick tips to help you prepare:

  1. Set up an emergency action plan. Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends including:
    • An evacuation policy
    • Emergency escape procedures and route assignments, such as workplace maps noting refuge areas
    • Names and telephone numbers of important individuals within and outside your business
    • Procedures for employees to perform or shut down operations
    • Rescue and medical duties for any workers
  1. Ensure all employee contact numbers are current so everyone can be accounted for in an emergency.
  2. Designate a severe weather shelter. Notify staff of its location and post signage for customers. If your business does not have a shelter, locate a storm shelter nearby or consider sending volunteers or employees home before severe weather hits.
  3. Implement a communication system to notify employees to evacuate, take shelter or take other actions.
  4. Store originals or duplicate copies of accounting records, legal documents, your employees’ emergency contact lists, and other essential records in a secure location.
  5. Compile a kit to be taken into the shelter that includes:
    • Flashlights
    • Emergency blankets
    • Water
    • Gloves
    • First aid kit
    • Battery powered radio
  1. Hold training sessions and practice emergency drills with staff to ensure everyone understands the emergency process.

After a tornado, safety risks can remain. Be especially careful of:

  • Damaged roadways
  • Nonfunctioning traffic signals
  • Flash flooding
  • Fallen tree limbs
  • Downed power lines
  • Debris with nails and glass and more

Depending on the amount of damage, structural, electrical or fire hazards may exist. Make sure everyone is accounted for and sheltering in a safe area and continue monitoring emergency weather bulletins.

Protecting your Business against Tornadoes

Severe weather can be worrisome and costly. But with the right severe weather plan, you can protect your employees and customers in the event of a tornado. And with the right inventory insurance, your inventory can be protected, too.

Lockton Affinity administers a comprehensive insurance policy to protect against the weather risks your business faces, including, including:

  • Fire
  • Flood
  • Hail
  • Earthquake
  • Wind

Get a quote to protect your inventory today.