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Hurricane loss mitigation, prevention may also work against tornadoes: FM Global

Hurricane loss mitigation, prevention may also work against tornadoes: FM Global

Loss mitigation and prevention techniques designed for hurricanes or straight-line winds may also be effective against tornadoes, according to a report issued Thursday by FM Global.

Specific measures can include hardening a building’s envelope, reducing sources of wind-borne debris, creating interior safe zones and establishing robust power sources, FM Global said.

To help harden the building’s envelope, FM Global points to upgrading windows, using wind-rated dock and garage doors, and designing and building more resilient roof decks.

“Recommendations should be based on observed weaknesses. We should use the same approach for tornadoes. The first step for loss prevention is to know the weak links and get rid of those,” said Professor Gregg Kopp, a member of the 2017 FM Global Climate Science Round Table, in the report from the insurer. Professor Kopp is an acting dean for engineering at Western University in London, Ontario, Canada. 

Any rebuilding or repairs will likely necessitate a reliable source of power, FM Global said.

The availability of power is essential for disaster recovery efforts,” FM Global said, advising “in a hardened, concrete, partially buried structure, build a separate central utility plant with power generators for backup power supply. Install underground fuel tanks that can hold fuel for several days. Build an additional battery backup or uninterruptible power supply.”

While similar techniques can be used to help mitigate damages, “straight-line winds differ from tornadic winds in several ways,” Professor Kopp said, adding “more research is being done” to further understand tornadoes.





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