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Preventing Large-scale Property Losses

Large property losses can be caused by anything from lightning strikes at a water treatment plant to a fire in a public works or administration building — and they can be costly.

Here are some preventive steps that can help reduce the occurrence of large losses, and assist in managing them if they happen:

  • Install lightning protection systems. Lightning rods, grounding systems and surge protectors can help reduce the risk of lightning strikes and minimize the damage they cause.
  • Perform regular maintenance and inspections of electrical and other systems. The National Fire Protection Association 70B Standard gives information on electrical equipment maintenance.
  • Provide training and education. Educating employees and contractors about lightning safety and procedures can help prevent accidents and minimize damage. Cities should conduct training and emergency action fire drills annually, and provide fire extinguisher training for all employees expected to extinguish an incipient-stage fire.
  • Develop preparedness plans and an emergency response plan. The plan for large losses should include procedures like evacuating the facility, shutting down critical systems, and contacting emergency services.
  • Establish a communication plan. It should address notifying employees, contractors and others of the situation and providing updates on response efforts.
  • Install fire alarms, smoke detectors and an approved fire suppression system. The system should be appropriate for the type of materials that would catch fire in an emergency, whether it be combustibles, flammables or lithium batteries.
  • Install backup power systems and redundant equipment. 
  • Conduct a post-incident analysis. This should aim to identify the causes of the loss, evaluate the effectiveness of the response plan and make any necessary changes to prevent similar losses in the future.

For questions or additional information on the prevention of large property losses, contact John Ciesielski, loss control consultant, at 803.354.4752 or