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What is the best way to protect my club, staff, members and guests from a windstorm?

Some windstorm emergencies, such as a hurricane, are foreseen well in advance, allowing sufficient time for precautionary action. However, some may occur suddenly, like a tornado, and require more specialized planning involving the implementation of time-related loss reduction controls and procedures designed to reduce loss severity. Properly planning for these crises by implementing pre-loss and post-loss objectives will help you reduce potential losses arising from natural catastrophes.

A Windstorm Preparedness Plan addresses two areas: pre-emergency actions (including various loss prevention and loss reduction measures), and post-emergency recovery actions. The five basic steps to preparing a formalized Windstorm Preparedness Plan include the following:

  1. Prepare a written policy and program with management and board support.
  2. Establish responsibilities and authority to designated personnel, preferably by job title.
  3. Organize the plan to handle emergencies and inform employees.
  4. Educate and train personnel.
  5. Audit and update the plan periodically. Although the threat of these catastrophes sometimes seem remote, it is always better to be prepared for emergencies before they happen. Some areas of facility susceptibility to review include:
  • Evaluate all structures (including buildings, amenities, storage buildings, utility buildings, antennas, etc.) as to their maintenance and susceptibility to damage from high winds or collapse from water ponding or snow load. Consider modifications or reinforcements to those structures that would be highly susceptible to collapse or wind damage.
  • Inspect the grounds regularly for condition of trees. Dead, dying and diseased trees and dead wood must be removed since these can cause significant damage or personal injury during high winds. For large trees and expansive properties, a tree maintenance program be implemented utilizing a certified tree expert and arborist.
  • Survey the property to identify equipment, inventory, stock, furniture, decorations, etc., that are kept outside and would be susceptible to damage or being uplifted during high winds. Such items should be listed and actions established for pre-storm precautions.

Tom Walker is area executive vice president for RPS-Bollinger—Sports & Leisure. He has served on several club boards and committees, and is a recognized authority on club insurance issues. For a comprehensive Windstorm Preparedness Plan Bulletin, contact Tom at 800-446-5311 (ext. 8098) or [email protected].