May 29

Greenhouse Growing Businesses: Preparing For Severe Weather

Summer is right around the corner, and all growers know that with summer season comes inclement weather. With weather patterns in the last couple of years throwing us curveball after curveball, it’s never too early to prepare for multiple types of severe weather like lighting, tornadoes, hail, and thunderstorms.

Disaster can strike at any time, severe storms have already begun to hit the midwest, and NOAA is predicting an active hurricane season for the east coast; so precautions must be taken.

Following these key tips to prepare for inclement weather can help mitigate the risk associated with the greenhouse structure and business:

Make Preparations
To reduce the impact of a possible loss, it is of utmost importance to have an emergency procedure in place for the protection and safety of all employees and business property. Emergency instructions, safety guidelines and a chain of command must be clear and understood. Procedures such as tornado drills should be reviewed and practiced quarterly to allow for adaptations due to changes in the business operations and staff.

Tornadoes and Heavy Rains
Greenhouse structures can be designed to withstand winds up to 100 miles an hour with minimal to moderate damage. It is recommended that growers located in active tornado areas consult with a structural engineer before investing in replacement or new structures. Local building codes may satisfy the authorities, but they won’t protect your business from catastrophic damage. Thunderstorms that bring gusty winds can cause a great deal of immediate damage. However, it is the torrential rain that often accompanies these storms that can be more damaging than the wind itself. Flash floods happen in all 50 states. Just an inch of water in your business can cause thousands of dollars of damage.

Hail
Polyethylene film roofs impacted by hail may not be able to maintain the necessary inflation pressure between double layers. Keep poly tape on hand to temporarily patch any holes that are discovered. While broken glass remains in the roof structure, there is a substantial risk of personal injury due to falling glass. Timely action on removing the glass and making repairs is critical.

Lightning
Point-of-use surge protection devices help protect computer systems from the tremendous voltage lightning strikes can deliver. Easily available at minimal cost, these devices offer a critical line of defense for the safekeeping of a business’ electronic records.

Being ready for severe weather before it arrives and knowing how to quickly react to any damage that may happen is one of the most effective tools in mitigating risk in any business. This is especially true for greenhouse growing businesses due to having large structures largely covered in glass; seeing as how even industrial glass can be fragile when pitted against severe weather.

For more information on greenhouse grower insurance and risk management, visit GrowPro.

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