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Many parts of the UK, including the West Midlands, are bracing for strong winds as ex-Ophelia hits our shores. Although the majority of damage reports come from domestic dwellings, businesses also need to be aware of the risks in order to keep employees safe and minimise damage to buildings and content. Storms with high winds can produce devastating consequences, bringing about £300 million in damages throughout the United Kingdom each year.

Duncan Sutcliffe, director, Sutcliffe & Co, commented: “The Met Office has issued warnings for severe winds, so make sure you are prepared. We have some tips to help ensure the safety of you and your business if the high winds are prevalent.”

Before the Storm
• Secure or bring in any loose objects, such as ladders, waste bins, equipment or anything else that could be blown away or into windows and glass.
• Securely fasten and close all doors, windows and entrances.
• Park all vehicles in a garage, if available. If not, keep them clear of buildings, trees, walls and fences.
• Reduce yard storage heights
• If in a high-rise building, be prepared to take shelter on or below the 10th floor.
• Move susceptible outdoor equipment to a safe indoor location.
• Carry out shut downs of equipment or processes that may be affected by power cuts
• Check your generator is in good working order.

During the Storm

• Stay indoors as much as possible - patrol internal areas to identify water ingress or other damage
• If it is safe to do so, carry out routine external patrols to identify any damage to buildings or equipment and to monitor general conditions.
• Listen to the radio or TV for information.
• Turn off utilities if instructed to do so.
• Stay away from windows and glass doors.
• If there is a power failure, then isolate any equipment that may automatically restart.
• Do not use a lift.
• Do not drive unless necessary. If you must drive, take care when driving on exposed routes, such as bridges. Slow down and be aware of side winds.
• Never use a generator inside enclosed spaces, sheds or similar areas, even when using fans or opening doors and windows for ventilation. Deadly levels of carbon monoxide can quickly build up in these areas and can linger for hours, even after the generator has shut off.

After the Storm

• Stay alert for extended rainfall or flooding.
• Do not touch any electrical or telephone cables that were blown down or are still hanging.
• Stay away from walls, buildings and trees that look like they may have been weakened.
• Walk carefully around any property and check for loose power lines, gas leaks and structural damage before entering.
• Inspect your property for damage. Take pictures of the damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance purposes.
• Wear protective clothing and be cautious when cleaning up or making repairs.
• Before re-starting equipment or processes, make sure all safety and protective systems (including fire protection/detection) are operational.
• Make sure everyone around you is safe.

For more information on any of our news articles, please contact:

Duncan Sutcliffe

01905 21681

[email protected]

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