There are about 5,600 shotguns in the United States each year based on data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Learning about this weather phenomenon and how to properly prepare it can save lives and minimize damage.
Hail forms when raindrops hit very cold temperatures and freeze in ice balls. Depending on size, hail can be extremely harmful to humans, animals, property and cars. And, if winds are strong enough, hail can fall with enough force to penetrate solid surfaces. Falling on paths called hail paths, hail size can be in size from a few acres to an area 1
PREPARATION FOR HAIL
The first concern when preparing for a possible hail storm is life safety. Thereafter, thoughts can turn to protecting physical property. Much of the preparations for hail events are found in roof systems, maintenance and maintenance.
General Tips for Reducing Damage and Preventing Damage:
- Stay indoors and make sure all shutters are intact during window breaks.
- Do not investigate property damage until the storm has passed. Garden damage cannot be obvious so it is important to examine all glass surfaces, building walls and roofs.
- Check HVAC equipment. Hail often damages condensation coils by damaging the replacement flanges.
- Consider storing your fleet of vehicles at more than one location to spread risk and explore the possibility of protecting covers or indoor garages.
Roof-specific tasks that can reduce damage:
As for roof sensitivity and maintenance, the type and age of the roof system, as well as its exposure to elements, play a role in how it performs against hail.
- Concrete or clay tiles work better in shotguns than asphalt or wooden shingles.
- Built roofs with denser substrates and several base plates work better than those using lighter substrates or organic fields.
- Coarse aggregate coating, such as ballast or gravel material, increases the hail resistance of the roof
- Regular inspection and maintenance of roof systems increases the service life and resistance to hail and wind events.
HVAC-specific tips, examples and factors that can reduce damage:
Hailstorms can be dangerous for all roof units – but not more than plumbing units, capacitors and refrigerators. Damage to these vulnerable systems can affect heating and cooling, cause water damage and result in loss of plant use.
Think of this scenario:
A hail stream strikes. Hailstones turn on your HVAC unit, which affects the coil units and causes fins to be compressed. Fine compression causes system failure, including reduced heat transfer functions of the shift unit. You are looking at:
- physical damage to your building and plumbing equipment
- possible interruption in heating and cooling
- tenants and / or operations requiring climate control to support their functionality, without which business operations can be compromised  potential production or downtime that may result in your business or tenant losing revenue – possibly triggering additional losses, e.g. a business interruption requirement from companies that depend on your industry.
Consider mitigation strategies:
While eliminating exposure to the entire roof may be impractical, measures can be taken to minimize damage to the roof's mechanical roof.
Think of shotgun protection for HVAC equipment, especially in hail areas. They act as protective screens for HVAC equipment on roofs as well as for roof shutters, both of which are highly susceptible to hail damage. Because shotguns come in different sizes and shapes with customized options for hard-to-protect objects, remember that shotguns should be:
- strong enough to withstand hail, but sufficiently porous to allow sufficient and unlimited airflow
- located close enough to the unit to allow prevent hail that strikes the ceiling and bounces up to the unit
- equipped with tight mesh or fabric protection that has enough clearance from louvers or fins to prevent hail from drifting into the fins
guards, you may also consider installing protective screens over skylights. Again, it is always best practice to regularly inspect your roof to correct defects and maintain good condition.
By taking steps to prepare your property for the possibility of hail storms and by making sure you live safely indoors during an event, protecting your life and reducing the risk of your property and business.
This information on loss control is only advisory. The author takes no responsibility for the management or control of loss control activities. Not all exposures are identified in this article. Contact your local Independent Bolder Insurance Advisor for coverage advice and policy.
Extensions described here are in the most general terms and are subject to current policy conditions and exclusions. For actual coverage forms, terms and exclusions, see the policy or contact your Bolder Insurance Advisor.
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