Extreme winter weather is challenging, but with the right preparation, you can keep your buildings and facilities safe and operating.
Every winter brings with it the potential for heavy snow, subzero temperatures, and dangerous conditions. It’s an unpredictable season often filled with extremes but having a winter preparedness plan can help you to minimize these risks, create a safe environment for workers and customers, and lessen any storm damage.
When it comes to preparing for winter weather, make sure your equipment has been inspected and serviced. Industry best practice is to conduct planned maintenance on HVAC equipment four times a year and once a year for other services. If a major winter storm is forecasted, it’s a good idea to inspect equipment as soon as possible.
- Make sure thermostats and temperature controls are working and keep buildings at a set temperature even if unoccupied to maintain safety
- Check that air vents, blowers, and hoses for damage
- Replace filters as needed
- Clean out drain lines and pans
- Test humidity and temperature controls
Power & Electrical
- Check and install new surge protectors if needed
- Inspect backup power and generators to ensure constant power
- Inspect leads and electrical hookups
- Ensure generators are fueled and that fuel is properly stocked and stored
- Look for exposed wiring and repair
- Prepare pipes by wrapping with insulation
- Set up leak detection sensors in areas prone to flooding
- Insulate and seal cracks and openings around exposed pipes
- Check operation of valves and shutoffs
Snow and ice pose traveling and slipping hazards, but melting snow and ice also present their own challenges. When it comes to preparing the outside of your facilities for winter weather, make sure you have enough supplies on hand and a strategy to deal with potentially heavy snow.
- Use rock salt, ice melt, shovels, snow blowers to remove snow
- Install slip-resistant tape on stairs or other similar areas
- Assess exterior lighting to ensure your property is well lit
- Clean roof of high-piling snow as soon as possible
- Designate an area to deposit shoveled snow to minimize disruptions to the business
- Inspect trees and power lines and remove branches if needed.
It’s always good to have enough supplies on hand for normal winter weather, but if a serious storm is forecasted, it is good practice to take stock of your supplies and replenish immediately.
- Drain cleaner, floor mats and caution signs for excess water
- First-aid and emergency preparedness kits
- Hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes
- Extra coats, gloves, and hats
- Additional snow removal and deicing equipment
Winter is, if anything, unpredictable. Make sure to have a detailed emergency plan for any weather condition. This includes everything related to the building, workers, customers, and service partners.
- Create a detailed course of action in case of blizzards, heavy snowfalls, and other harsh conditions
- Keep emergency car kits and first-aid kits
- Review and update contracts with snow removal companies