READING, Pa., Aug. 19, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Across the world, natural disaster events are on the rise. Climbing temperatures pave the way for an increase in droughts, wildfires, floods and other weather emergencies. In 2021, United States natural disasters created more than $145 billion in economic damage, three times the amount originally estimated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The Federal Emergency Management Association estimates that about 25 percent of businesses do not reopen after experiencing a weather-related disaster. Without a plan in place, one weather emergency leading to a power outage, flood or property damage may be all it takes to force a company or business to close its doors permanently.
To better protect businesses and their people, emergency preparedness experts from Rentokil North America and their family brands, Steritech and Ambius, shared three elements to incorporate into a weather-related hazard mitigation plan. Business owners and operators can use these tips to establish a plan and better protect their employees, customers and business.
Tip One: Prepare for Power Outages
Power outages can happen anytime, anywhere. A nearby accident can take out power lines resulting in a local outage. Heavy rain, high winds or extreme temperatures from severe storms can also lead to a regional or widespread outage. Business owners may not be able to prevent a power outage from happening, but planning ahead and incorporating step-by-step instructions for the business’s unique needs can help prevent the loss of temperature-controlled products.
Conduct an extensive walkthrough of the facility and make note of any temperature-controlled products or power-reliant vulnerabilities. Include clear instructions for handling these products in the case of a power outage and ensure resources are readily and easily available.
Consider having a paper log on hand in order to manually monitor and document product and food temperatures as long as it is safe to remain in the building or if the power outage is confirmed to be brief. Avoid opening reach-in and walk-in cooler doors as much as possible to keep items cold. A freezer in good condition may maintain its temperature for up to 24 hours if unopened.
“When a power outage impacts temperature-controlled products, discard any foods that may have been in the cooling or warming process,” advised Paula Herald, Technical Consultant at Steritech. “Don’t take chances trying to cool down hot foods; discard in the interest of food safety.”
Tip Two: Address Air Quality Concerns
Flash floods and wildfires continue to sweep across the United States releasing toxins, bacteria, smoke and other harmful pathogens into the air. These contaminants infect the air and seep into floors, walls and furniture, linger long after the flood or fire subsides. Exposure to these pollutants can be highly dangerous to people and can lead to heart and lung problems, eye and skin irritation and a number of other health-related issues.
Do not enter a space that has been impacted by a flood or fire without first receiving approval from health and safety officials. Once the area is deemed safe to enter, assess all structural damage, look for signs of smoke damage or mold and dispose of anything that can not be washed, rinsed and disinfected such as furniture and carpet. Air decontamination units can be used to help remove any remaining airborne toxins, gases and pollutants.
“The increased frequency of natural disasters is having a significant impact on air quality,” said Matt Hayas, Director of Product and Innovation at Ambius. “Business owners can address indoor air quality concerns by investing in specialized air decontamination units designed to effectively remove 99.9999% of air pollutants before, during and after severe weather situations.”
Tip Three: Remove Destruction and Debris
Natural disasters can leave behind damaged roofs, broken windows, fallen trees and other destruction and debris. Structural damage and piled-up debris are not only safety hazards, they can also create the perfect harborage for rodents, insects, birds and other pests looking to build a new home.
Once the weather emergency has passed, it’s important to conduct an extensive walk-through of the property. Identify any open access points and move any fallen trees and debris as far away from the building as possible.
“A minimum distance of 25 feet is recommended to keep pests from entering the building,” said Nancy Troyano at Rentokil. “Rodents can fit through holes as small as one-fourth an inch so it’s critical to conduct a thorough inspection of the building, before and after a storm hits.”
Dealing with the aftermath of a weather-related disaster can be overwhelming and costly. A pre-established hazard mitigation plan can save businesses up to $13 dollars per $1 dollar invested (National Institute of Building Sciences). As climate change continues to advance, the threat of weather emergencies may soon be a reality for many across the country. Be proactive and establish a plan before a disaster strikes. Incorporate these tips into a crisis plan to better protect businesses, properties and the people they serve.
For more information on emergency preparedness tips and the Rentokil family of brands, please visit Rentokil.com/us.
For more than 90 years, Rentokil has served as global experts in pest control. Through an integrated pest management approach, the Rentokil network of experts offer a superior level of protection and trusted solutions, pushing the boundaries of innovation and harnessing new technology, to create pest-free environments.
Rentokil is part of Rentokil North America, which provides commercial and residential pest control to customers in the United States and Canada. The comprehensive and digital pest management solutions include general pest control, rodents, mosquito, birds, termite and bed bug inspections and service, vegetation management and bird management.
In addition, Rentokil North America operates business services companies including Ambius, specializing in air purification, hand and surface hygiene as well as plants and scenting services; Steritech, offering food safety and operational assessments; SOLitude Lake Management, providing lake and pond solutions; and Vector Disease Control International, which serves governments and municipalities with mosquito control services.
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