Weathering Winter Storms at Your Facility

Winter storms can endanger staff and result in building damage and business downtime. Check these items off of your seasonal to do list to make sure your business is ready before the next storm arrives.

Plan ahead

  • Assess your risks. Evaluate which winter weather threats — freezing rain, snowfall, power outages, pipes freezing, etc. — you need to worry about the most and prioritize your preparedness plans accordingly.
  • Review your insurance coverage to ensure that your business is adequately covered for damage from the particular winter weather threats that you might face.
  • Check and update your emergency action plan that includes evacuation procedures, contact information for local first responders and emergency contact information for all employees.

Prepare your staff

  • Train all staff members on your emergency plan and procedures to be followed in case of extreme winter weather.
  • Prepare an emergency preparedness kit, which should include water bottles, non-perishable food, blankets, first-aid supplies, flashlights and a battery-powered radio.
  • Maintain updated content information for all staff. Establish a communication protocol to quickly update all employees on storm-related events.

Prepare your facility

  • Inspect your building exterior to ensure that walls, doors and the roof are properly sealed and insulated and in good condition.
  • Maintain the grounds around your building to make sure they are free of heavy debris that could damage your building during high winds. Trim trees to reduce the risk of limbs falling from snow and ice buildup.
  • Check snow removal materials and equipment to ensure that you are fully supplied and that equipment is in good working order.
  • Inspect all company vehicles to make sure that they are working properly and that they have tires appropriate for the season.

Prepare to stay in business

  • Maintain backup power. Make sure you have a reliable source of backup power, such as a generator, available and in working condition. Operate the unit safely according to manufacturer’s guidelines.
  • Develop a business continuity plan that includes a list of procedures to be taken after a storm or other emergency to continue operations and return to full capacity as quickly as possible. See Ready.gov for more information about how to develop a business continuity plan.
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