Before the 2004 hurricane season, the 9/11 terrorist attacks ranked as the most costly U.S. catastrophe in terms of property alone at $20.3 billion (or $32.5 billion when liability claims are included), according to the New York City-based Insurance Information Institute (III). However, it appears that the damage caused by the four hurricanes that struck Florida and other East Coast and Gulf Coast states could equal or exceed that amount. At press time, the III reported that this season’s hurricanes had resulted in more than 2 million claims – far exceeding the 750,000 claims filed after Hurricane Andrew in 1992, which is the industry’s single most costly natural disaster to-date.
Preparation is key. The next time disaster strikes, you may not have much time to act. Prepare now for a sudden emergency by calling your Emergency Management Office or American Red Cross Chapter. First consider the following questions – provided by the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA):
What disasters can occur in my area and how can I prepare for them?
How will I be warned of an emergency?
What are my community’s evacuation routes?
Are there special assistance opportunities available for elderly or disabled individuals?
Then act. Create an emergency plan. Take a basic first aid and CPR class. Prepare a disaster supplies kit. Develop an escape plan. Lastly, communicate, review – and then communicate some more.
The aftermath from the recent catastrophes – while devastating – could have been so much more significant. Thankfully, facilities professionals (such as yourselves) have prevailed in selecting the most optimal products for their buildings – ones that are not only reliable for normal business operations, but those that will perform in extraordinary circumstances as well.
When perusing our annual “Editors’ Choice” products, think about business as usual – and unusual – and the selection of products that will keep the buildings that house your operations at their peak. But, please, don’t leave it entirely up to us. We’d love to hear about your solutions. Call the Buildings Editorial Staff at (319) 364-6167 or e-mail me directly (firstname.lastname@example.org). We want to share your stories; we’re here to communicate, review – and communicate some more.
In the October 2004 issue of Buildings magazine (in which the 2004 New Construction Awards winners were announced), the Capitol Area East End Complex in Sacramento, CA, was named an Honorable Mention in the Public/Government category (pages 58-59). The ceiling tile provided on the Capitol Area East End was USG’s Eclipse product, according to Diane Angli, marketing coordinator at Clark Construction Group - California LP, one of the project’s design/build contractors.