It’s summer storm season again. You know what that means: natural disasters and storms that can impact your business. What should you do to prepare for a severe storm and protect your print shop? Here are four tips for prepping before a storm and what to do if your shop does get damaged.
STEP 1: UPDATE CONTACT INFO
This is the #1 priority for a reason. You’ll need updated contact information to keep everyone in the loop. Make sure all contact info is updated. This includes info about your business, team members, customers, suppliers, utilities, and more. Make sure that whoever needs to reach you is able to, and vice versa. The last thing you want is team members and customers left in the dark in the event of a severe storm.
Update your local government emergency response contact information as well. If something happens, you’ll want the right number to call. Make sure everyone who needs the contact information has it, so you can stay in touch with them before, during, and after the storm passes.
STEP 2: DOCUMENT AND COLLECT INFO
Once contact info has been updated and distributed, it’s time to take some inventory. This may seem tedious, but it’s vital to stay on top of your business once the storm breaks. Document inventory of all your equipment and supplies. This can be done a few ways: take a video of your shop, take photos of equipment and assets, and write it all down. If anything gets lost or damaged, you’ll have proof of its existence or previous condition.
Another important aspect of taking inventory is to collect all important information. Grab all the important documents your shop might need. This includes invoices, receipts, maintenance records, proof of assets, and more. Place all documents in a safe location (or take them with you if you’re being evacuated from the area). It’s good practice to make digital copies of everything, so you’ll have a backup if the paper trail gets lost.
Hopefully, nothing in your shop gets damaged, broken, or lost. If it does, having all the paperwork and proper documentation will help you make an insurance claim if needed.
Taking inventory of your entire shop setup is vital to the preparation process. Photo by Symmetree Clothing.
STEP 3: BUILDING PREPARATION
Alright, documents have been stored and digitized, and you’ve got photos of your shop for proof. Now, let’s start prepping the shop building itself for a storm.
First of all, it’s important to make sure that the gutters and roof are clear of debris to ensure proper water flow. If you have large equipment that can’t be moved, cover it with a tarp, plastic, or anything that will help keep water out and minimize damage.
MOVE WHAT YOU CAN
Move as much equipment out of the shop or out of danger as possible. This includes flash dryers, exposure units, small presses, small conveyor dryers, and any supplies you don’t want to potentially replace. If your equipment is too big to take with you, raise it up on cinder blocks or 2x4s to keep it off the floor of the shop.
Even getting your equipment off the ground by a couple of inches can help reduce the amount of water damage and give you a bit of peace of mind. The goal is to save as much equipment from potential damage. Take as much with you as possible. Raise, cover, and secure the rest.
CAN’T MOVE IT? SECURE IT
Large equipment like automatic presses, large conveyor dryers, bulky manual presses, and other pieces of equipment that can’t be moved out of your shop should be tied down to prevent damage. Cover everything in tarps or plastic. Make sure everything is unplugged.
If you’re worried about flooding in your shop, check out flood walls. These are inflatable walls that stop water from entering a space. If your shop is at risk of flooding, this investment may be worth it. Placing sandbags in flood-risk areas will also help ease stress about water damage in your screen print shop.
Smaller tabletop presses can be moved to safe places. Take all supplies and secure what can't be moved. Photo by PRNT SCRN Screen Printing.
STEP 4: UNPLUG EVERYTHING
Equipment is either out of the shop or tied down, raised, and covered to prevent water damage. Now, let’s eliminate fire risk. Power surges are possible when electricity is returned to an area. To prevent surges and fires, unplug and tie up all power cords. This will also help to reduce water damage because the cord won’t be laying on the potentially flooded floor.
Tape cords to the top of your equipment to keep them off the ground. If you can, take cords and all electrical equipment out of the shop. This isn’t always possible, but will ensure that you won’t be replacing equipment just because the cord is fried. Make sure to turn off the power distribution panel before you leave.
Now it’s time to get somewhere safe and wait for the storm to pass.
CLEANING UP AFTER A STORM
Once the storm is over, you’ll want to get back to normal as soon as possible. When cleaning and fixing up your shop, there’s a couple things you’ll need to know.
ASSESS DAMAGE AND FILE AN INSURANCE CLAIM
Assess any damage that occurred to your shop during the storm. Walking into a damaged shop can be hard to witness. Make sure to take photos or videos before you move anything or start to clean up.
Get the photos of the damage over to your insurance company and schedule an appointment for them to come take a look at your space. Messing with anything before the insurance company sees it creates the risk of the insurance company not giving you the money that your claim deserves.
Once the insurance company has assessed damages, it’s time to get back to work. Don’t plug anything in until you’ve talked with a professional. The storm may have caused unseen damage that an untrained eye wouldn’t notice. Turning on the equipment without knowing the full extent of the problems could put your equipment out of commission for good or could even cause you to get hurt.
Some equipment may be usable, while others might require a fix. Before using equipment, get a professional’s opinion and help if necessary. You might be handy, but you don’t want to ruin equipment.
If you have any questions regarding protecting your equipment or getting your equipment fixed, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 1-800-314-6390 or by emailing us at email@example.com.
Severe weather is becoming more common, but you can be prepared for it. Take care of your shop and give yourself a leg up when preparing for a storm. When in doubt, reach out. Screen printers help other screen printers. Stay safe this storm season and keep your shop out of trouble.