Winter. Just the word can send chills up your spine – literally. In pursuit of a winter-free life, it’s not uncommon for people to pick up a lock, stock, and barrel, and move to the tropics. This can apply to their personal residence and/or business location. If you decide to stay put and weather the storm, so to speak, you could likely use some tips about keeping your business/employees safe and how to prepare your business for winter.
What Are Your Risks?
When it comes to cold weather, you need to be on the lookout for specific hazards where your business is concerned. Yes, snow accumulation and icy roads are dangerous. There is also an increased likelihood of slip and fall injuries, dangerous fire activity, structural stress and damage, and more. What are the risks to your organization?
To help you evaluate your specific risks, consider these hazards:
- System/power outages
- Hazards such as electrical fires
- Structural damage/stress
- Local school closures/delays
- Flight cancellations/delays
- Frostbite and hypothermia
- Injuries from slips and falls
- Road closures
- Unsafe driving conditions
- Seasonal illnesses, the flu, and COVID-19
When a storm hits, certain things need to be done. You’ll need to decide whose responsibility it is to see to the completion of certain tasks. Who sends your employees/consumers updates? Who tracks any needed weather/closures/etc. information? Who’s going to make sure the parking lot is drivable and safe? Who is going to make sure everyone performs the task they are assigned?
For weather-related events, there should be specific callouts. Review your contracts, as part of your preparations for winter, with landlords, property managers, insurance providers, and vendors.
Both internally and externally, outline everyone’s responsibilities.
Winter Storm Threat Planning
Consider taking these preventative measures before a storm hits:
- Have a communication plan
- To prevent data loss, implement a data backup solution that is secure
- Purchase a backup generator
- To guard expensive computer equipment, get power surge protectors
- To keep everyone safe during a power outage, train employees adequately
- Including all exit routes, throughout the building, install emergency lighting
- Make sure you keep on hand adequate and numerous battery banks and portable chargers
Location Fortification Against Cold
With attention to detail and comprehensive planning, you can winterize your business. In advance of the storm warning, consider these winter storm precautions and preparations:
- Have a backup plan in case of a power outage.
- As necessary, refill propane tanks. Additionally, check the fuel lines.
- Ensure that all carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are properly working.
- Test your lighting systems, thermostats, and heaters.
- To guard against frozen pipes and protect plumbing, add pipe insulation. As needed, caulk insulation gaps. Check weatherstripping, windows, doors, and attics for leaks.
- Do a roof check to keep up with necessary maintenance.
Equipping Your Employees
You want your employees to stay safe, too. By ensuring that resources and equipment are ready, you can help prepare them properly for winter. Review backup generator and space heater safety. Make sure protective clothing is worn by outdoor workers. Tell them how to recognize hypothermia and frostbite. Winterize company vehicles. Here are a few more tips:
- Encourage employees who have vehicles to keep a winter emergency kit handy.
- Winter safety essentials should be stocked up.
- Make sure important weather/closure/etc. information is processed as it comes in and relayed to all necessary parties.
Getting Out Important Information
When a winter storm hits, how will you communicate necessary information to those who need it? You need a plan. For third parties who need to be contacted, have their updated/current contact information. Parties needing to be contacted can include your landlord, utility providers, vendors, clients, employees, and of course, your insurance company. Remember, because of the storm, certain modes of communication may be down.
Prepare for Winter by Knowing Who to Call with Your Insurance Claim – Stone Claims Group
During the winter months or any other time of year, if you have a business insurance claim before you do anything else, contact us at Stone Claims Group.
Our areas of expertise extend to appraisal services, public adjusting, preliminary inspections, umpire services (to assist with claim dispute settlement), and more.
Feel free to check out our FAQ page for answers to some of the most commonly posed questions.