As facilities go idle countrywide, certain risks emerge.
That’s the warning from commercial property insurer FM Global in light of COVID-19.
Fires, vandalism, theft and weather damage are just a few examples of the risks – and understaffed facilities are potentially more vulnerable.
Losses at idle properties are preventable, says FM Global, and companies should ensure the following needs are addressed (while of course prioritising employee health and safety):
- Essential personnel: contact authorities and explain that security and maintenance personnel on your site are ‘essential’ in the context of stay-at-home orders.
- Active security: perform daily rounds inside and outside idle facilities. Watch for criminal activity, smoke, fire or property damage. Consider webcams and sensors to detect out-of-the ordinary motion.
- Fire protection: keep fire protection in place. Have maintenance staff perform daily sprinkler valve lock checks. Remove debris and ignitable liquids and closely monitor any welding or other ‘hot work’ taking place. Alert the local fire department of the building’s change in use.
- Flood protection: water damage is among the biggest threats to commercial and industrial property, and is a growing risk as sea levels and population density rise. Elevate equipment and equip your property with temporary or permanent flood barriers, where appropriate.
- Maintenance: this is an ideal time to perform overdue maintenance, whether that’s repairing expensive machinery or fixing a small roof leak.
“It’s important to remember that other serious risks haven’t gone away, and continue to affect organisations’ resilience,” says Kevin Ingram, executive vice president and chief financial officer at FM Global.
Europe and the US have already experienced the highest number of factory closures since World War II, Bloomberg reports.