Although winter weather can’t be avoided, you can reduce your company’s vulnerability to the cold season by acting before and throughout the winter. Winter weather can cause damage and disruption to your business, even if snow and ice are uncommon in your area. Many storms are accompanied by dangerously low temperatures and sometimes by strong winds, ice, sleet, and freezing rain. Reduce your company’s vulnerability to a winter storm by acting before and throughout the cold season.
Follow these best practices to prepare for winter weather and help minimize its impact on your facility, employees, and business continuity. If you have any questions, contact our office at 413.475.7283 or Complete our online quote form today!
How to prepare your property and equipment for cold weather
Below are a few tips to help prepare your property and equipment in the event your area is hit with extreme cold weather conditions.
- Restore or provide heat to buildings to maintain a minimum temperature of 40°F.
- Ensure all doors, windows, skylights, ventilators, and shafts are weather-tight to prevent cold air from entering any part of the building. Check areas of recent construction.
- Maintain a list of contractors, equipment/parts suppliers that can respond to building freeze-up problems.
- Maintain a list of employees with contact numbers to be utilized in the event work is canceled or delayed. Identify employees who can assist with recovery efforts.
- Track National Weather Service updates (warnings/watches) for the latest storm information or listen to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio or other local news channels.
- Create an emergency preparedness kit with at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food and bottled water, flashlights, and a battery-powered radio.
Prepare your walking surfaces
- Provide moisture-absorbent mats, rugs, or runners at building entrances to reduce wet and slippery floors. Have caution signage available.
- Clear storm drains of debris to minimize the risk of runoff water ponding.
- Arrange for snow removal to clear premises and access roads before the winter season occurs. If snow removal is performed by your own personnel, have sufficient snow removal equipment available and maintain alternative contractors.
- Mark and identify concrete tire stops, fire hydrants, and landscaped islands in parking areas. When snow-covered, these pose an unseen and dangerous trip and fall hazard.
- Determine where the piles of snow removed from parking areas are to be stockpiled.
Protecting your building equipment
- Inspect all emergency power sources such as generators to assure proper operation.
- Inspect emergency heating systems to assure proper operation.
- Maintain adequate fuel supplies and reserves for primary and emergency purposes.
- When additional heating is required, maintain at least three feet of clearance between the heat source and all combustible materials.
- Ensure that all temporary heaters are UL listed and fitted with automatic high temperature and tip-over shut-off devices.
- Ensure that idle cooling equipment such as cooling coils, chillers, and compressors are drained and/or installed in areas with heat. Cooling equipment operating year-round must have operating and de-icing procedures implemented to prevent freeze-ups and ice damage.
- Shield equipment and inventory that is located directly below susceptible frozen pipes with water-resistant coverings.
- Add listed/approved heat tracing to process systems piping that are susceptible to freezing.
- Check on your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Replace batteries regularly for smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. This is very important if you will be using a generator. Portable generators should never keep it indoors because they produce high levels of carbon monoxide and could cause harm to anyone inside the building.
Extra Seasonal Inventory
The cold weather usually means the holidays are just around the corner. If your business carries more inventory during this time of year, you may consider including Automatic Seasonal Increase coverage for your Business Owners Policy.
At Encharter Insurance, we are here to help you with a quote or any claim. Call us at 413.475.7283 or visit our website at encharter.com to discuss your business insurance and deductible needs. We can provide coverage from many insurance carriers so you receive the insurance for your budget and needs!