Six Critical Maintenance Actions To Prepare For Natural Hazards (Source: Facility Executive)

Apr 8, 2021

By Jeff Thomas

The Winter Storm Uri decimated Texas, affecting millions for days and even weeks. Freezing temperatures, power outages, and burst pipes left millions without basic services. Medical facilities across the state struggled with reduced water pressure and loss of heat. School campuses suffered from frozen sprinkler systems and broken boilers. Residents in several senior living facilities were evacuated. The list goes on.

Uri is the latest in a series of natural hazards to wreak havoc on Texas. In a few months’ time, the state will be bracing itself for hurricane season. While much has been written about how Texas needs to design and build resilient facilities to mitigate these hazards, less attention has been focused on what needs to be done from a maintenance perspective. Regardless of location, there are several maintenance measures that can improve the safety and resiliency of a facility during a natural hazard. Below are six critical ones:

Prepare A Plan: Facility managers should have an emergency plan for each type of extreme weather event. To start with, the plan should include information on protecting employees, visitors, and anyone else in the facility. It should also have detailed information on the various personnel who will respond during the event, their roles, and tasks. Second, it should have a list of critical systems and equipment that should be protected. Third, the plan should have a checklist of actions for each event: cold snaps, heavy rains, hurricanes, heat waves, tornadoes, droughts, etc. After creating a plan, test it out. Test as many realistic scenarios as possible. Record the results and limitations. Monitor practice drills and provide adequate training to staff. Review and update the emergency plan frequently to ensure it becomes a “living” plan.