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Tornado and Storm Checklist for Jewelers in 2023

Business owners can take steps to reduce damage to facilities, injuries to employees and the losses associated with business disruptions.

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ACCORDING TO AN article from the Washington Post, “The first three months of 2023 have proved unusually active — and deadly — for tornadoes, and the volatile pattern for severe weather shows little sign of settling down.”

The pattern of cold, stormy weather in the West and abnormal warmth in the East — favorable for severe weather in the central states and the South — shows little sign of breaking, meteorologist Michael Ventrice told the Post.

While there is no way to eliminate all the damage of a direct hit from a violent tornado, straight-line wind or other powerful storm, business owners can take steps to reduce damage to facilities, injuries to employees and the losses associated with business disruptions.

Minimize damage from windborne debris

  • Maintain the landscaping around your building; remove trees and branches that could fall on the building walls or roof or on power lines.
  • Inspect and repair loose or damaged building components such as siding, soffit and fascia, shingles and roofing, brickwork and brick chimneys.
  • Avoid using built-up roofs with aggregate or pavers on the surface.

Retrofit the building during a remodel or building upgrade

  • Brace and strap the roof
  • Add recommended fasteners, ties, reinforcements, roof covering and anchors as building components are modified and maintained.
  • Make entry doors and overhead doors more wind-resistant
  • Build a safe room for protection in a tornado
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Protect your employees

  • Prepare and disseminate an emergency plan describing what supervisors and employees should to do as a tornado threatens. Practice these procedures through tornado drills.
  • Purchase a weather radio with local discrimination capability. Monitor weather conditions so employees and customers can move to secure locations when necessary:
    -A tornado watch is a caution indicating a high probability of tornadoes within an area approximately 250 miles long and 120 miles wide.
    -A tornado warning means that a tornado has been spotted on the ground in your county or moving toward your county, or that weather radar indicates a high probability of a tornado existing.

During a tornado – in a building

  • Keep exterior doors and windows closed to minimize rain and flying debris. Closing interior doors will also help to compartmentalize the building and provide more barriers between your employees and the storm.
  • Go to a pre-designated area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of a small interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from building corners, windows, doors and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside.
  • Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck.
  • Never shelter employees in rooms where there is an outside wall, particularly those with glass windows, or where the ceiling or roof has a span between supports of more than 40 feet.
  • In a high-rise building, go to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
  • Put on sturdy shoes.
  • Do not open windows.

During a tornado – outside

  • Immediately get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt, and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter. If your vehicle is hit by flying debris while you are driving, pull over and park.
  • Take cover in a stationary vehicle. Put the seat belt on and cover your head with your arms and a blanket, coat or other cushion if possible.
  • Lie in an area noticeably lower than the level of the roadway and cover your head with your arms and a blanket, coat or other cushion if possible.
  • Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
  • Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.
  • Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.
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After the Storm

  1. Survey for damage. Take pictures of any damage to the buildings and their contents.
  2. Secure the building to protect it from further damage or looting.
  3. Contact your security company and insurance broker or carrier to report damage and receive advice about next steps.
  4. Avoid loose or dangling power lines and report them to the local utility company, police or fire department.
  5. Before utilities are returned to service, check for gas leaks, look for electrical system damage and check for sewage and water line damage.
  6. Begin salvage operations as soon as possible. Clean debris from roofs and property if safe to do so.
  7. Use telephone only for emergency calls.
  8. Stay tuned to local radio and the National Weather Service for information.
  9. Critique your pre- and post-storm actions to identify strengths and weaknesses and make necessary modifications to prepare for the next emergency.

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Alex and Gladys Rysman are the third generation to run Romm Jewelers in Brockton, Mass. And after many decades of service to the industry and their community, it was time to close the store and take advantage of some downtime. With three grown children who each had their own careers outside of the industry, they decided to call Wilkerson. Then, the Rysmans did what every jeweler should do: They called other retailers and asked about their own Wilkerson experience. “They all told us what a great experience it was and that’s what made us go with Wilkerson.” says Gladys Rysman. The results? Alex Rysman says he was impressed. “We exceeded whatever I expected to do by a large margin.”

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