Business owners in cities across the country face navigating the effects of a global pandemic and the uncertainty that it brings and continuing civil unrest.
Throughout 2020, civil unrest has resulted in tens of millions in losses for businesses. From broken storefront windows to fires, the damage and losses have been debilitating for unprepared companies. Unfortunately, there are no signs that the 2020 levels of civil unrest in America are about to decrease.
You can’t stop civil unrest, but businesses can prepare for it in several ways that will protect properties and mitigate losses.
Stay updated about potential events or issues that may lead to civil unrest within your community. Local authorities, news outlets, and social media are all great sources to stay on top of what’s happening. Keeping a close watch on the community’s pulse will prepare you for taking proactive action to protect your business.
Audit property vulnerabilities
Accurately assessing your business property for potential vulnerabilities will help you more effectively address your mitigation efforts. Conduct a thorough inspection of your property and the surrounding areas, including neighboring businesses, parking lots, alleys, and streets. Look for specific risk management issues like gaps in security measures, potential traffic or crowding areas, and consider employee and customer safety.
After a thorough evaluation of potential vulnerabilities, implement a security strategy to keep the business protected. Some potential security practices to consider include:
- Installing security cameras
- Implementing an alarm system
- Boarding up windows, doors, and other vulnerable areas
- Locking and securing all windows and doors
- Installing motion-sensing external security lighting
- Hiring security personnel
If individuals breach doors or windows and enter your business's interior, you want to limit possible damages. Either safeguard or remove items that are valuable/or critical to operations. Start by identifying valuable inventory, essential records, vital machinery, and other key business assets. Additionally, consider the following safeguards:
- Remove cash and lockboxes from the site.
- Remove items from display windows and show cabinets.
- Secure all high-value merchandise.
- Move company vehicles off-site.
- Inventory and photograph your property regularly to document the property for insurance.
Secure vacant premises
Vacant buildings are especially vulnerable to damages during civil unrest events. With the temporary closure of offices and stores due to COVID-19, there are more facilities than usual at risk. The following steps can help reduce damages to vacant premises:
- Power down all non-essential equipment and systems.
- Shut off gas, electricity, and water.
- Post signage around the perimeter prohibiting access and warning that trespassers will be prosecuted.
- Maintain full perimeter fencing with secure gates if feasible.
- Move dumpsters, storage pods, or other large equipment that can be used to access the roof or upper floors away from the building.
- Remove any combustible materials from the interior and exterior.
- Cut back any flammable vegetation around the building's perimeter.
- Inspect daily, if it's possible to do so safely.
Secure proper insurance
Aside from implementing all of the above loss control strategies, you can ensure ultimate protection during civil unrest periods by securing the proper insurance.
McGowan's Active Shooter/Workplace Violence Insurance considers all classes of businesses and organizations. The common policies available for businesses are Active Shooter / Active Assailant / Workplace Violence and Terrorism insurance.