Before the Storm Starts…
Call your Cleary Insurance representative. Ask how your coverage will help you in a variety of scenarios, including burst pipes, roofing incidents, business interruption, ice dams, or accidents involving company cars. We can work with you to uncover gaps in your coverage and help you develop plans for your greatest risk areas to prevent winter losses.
Whether it’s you, an internal team, or a trusted contractor taking care of your building during the storm, make sure you:
- Know the locations of your water mains and supply lines. Mark them so they can be easily shut down in the event of a burst pipe or structural damage.
- Get your heating and electrical equipment inspected and in good operating condition. Licensed, insured plumbers and electricians can help you with this before the storm starts.
- Research or designate fully insured and reliable contractors for snow removal, salting, and sanding of parking areas and walkways. Or, if you choose to self-perform snow removal and maintenance, make sure your staff is properly trained and capable of operating necessary equipment, such as snow blowers. Document the building’s conditions before, during, and after the storm with checklists and photos.
- Prepare your grounds. Remove any trees or branches that are in danger of falling on your building and note any areas that may become risky in icy or snowy conditions.
- Check your supplies. Ensure that all snow removal equipment, backup generators, and company vehicles have enough fuel, and that you or your contractors have salt or sand available for your walkways and parking lots. If anyone is staying in your building, keep a well-stocked emergency kit in an accessible area.
- Consider installing water sensing equipment. Modern water detectors will notify you when your pipes grow cold, or if there is excess moisture present. Some can even shut off your water automatically in an emergency.
- Consider installing fully programmable and Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats. Today’s thermostats are more accurate, can be adjusted using smart devices, and can even send alerts should internal building temperatures dip to dangerous levels.
- During the storm, keep all exits, air intake, and exhaust vents clear of snow and ice during and after snow events.
- Monitor snow accumulation on your roof to prevent potential collapses, especially on flat or low-pitched roofs. If the snow starts piling up, professional roofers can help you keep your roof clean. First and foremost, though, stay safe! Be mindful of wind and weather conditions before asking anyone to work on your roof.
Storms that cause winter losses become costly when businesses must close for repairs or power restoration. Working with distributors, vendors, suppliers, or even industry counterparts to develop contingency plans can help reduce your business interruption costs. In the past, we’ve seen coordinated efforts—such as co-packing arrangements with competitors and shipping extra product to customers in advance—reduce the impacts of a storm.
Prepare Your People
The key to successful emergency preparedness is communicating with your people to help prevent winter losses. Develop and test emergency communications systems and build redundancies into your methods. Be open and proactive about communicating your inclement weather attendance policy or work from home policies so that no employee feels the need to put themselves in harm’s way. Conduct training sessions on cold exposure and slip and fall safety, as necessary.