You can’t change the weather, but you can prepare for it. Here are a few tips, courtesy of Berkley Asset Protection, to help you avoid the cold weather blues.
- Heat and insulation – Ensure your space is properly heated and insulated. Insulate pipes in attics, crawl spaces and near outside walls. This will help prevent flash freezing and burst pipes. If it’s bitter cold, open doors in front of pipes to let warm air circulate.
- Water shut-off valve – Find out where your water shut-off valve is located. In the event of burst pipes, this will enable you to turn off the water immediately and minimize damage.
- Inventory off the floor – In the unlikely event of a pipe break, ensure your inventory is at least 6 inches off the floor.
- Snow and ice removal – Have on hand ice melt and/or sand for heavy ice patches. Regularly survey ice/snow conditions outside the premises and take appropriate steps to reduce this hazard.
- Slip and fall – Arrange to have snow and ice removed as soon as safely possible. Maintain a snow and ice removal log that includes the time and activity, thus documenting your efforts to maintain the walkways, parking lots, etc. These logs will be crucial in the event of a lawsuit resulting from a slip and fall on your premises. Indoors, use water-absorbent mats to soak up rain, snow and slush, and place warning signs on wet floors. A low-profile fan can help dry the floor faster. Put someone in charge of the daily tasks.
- Contractors – If you are using a contractor for snow/ice removal, verify that there is no clause in the agreement that absolves the contractor of liability in the event of a liability claim arising out of a slip and fall. Be sure to obtain a certificate of insurance from the contractor.
- Roof accumulation – Collection and pooling of ice and snow on your roof or premises can lead to serious structural issues during the winter season and into spring. Most snow and ice contractors will include snow/ice removal from your roof at minimal costs.
- Roof Drains – Before the winter kicks in, make sure all gutters, drains and downspouts are clear of any leaves or debris. Make sure the drain covers are clear of any debris.
Be proactive! Develop a plan and execute!