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4 Minutes

How Winter Storms Can Affect Facility Management

Winter storms are a fact of life for many parts of the country. While they can bring beautiful snowfall and winter activities, they also have risks that must be managed. Facility managers must be aware of the possible effects of winter storms on their facilities to be prepared to deal with any issues that may arise. Let’s take a look at five common effects of winter storms and how facility managers can mitigate them. 

Slip-and-Fall Accidents 

Winter storms can present many safety risks to facility managers and businesses alike. One of the most common risks is the danger of slip-and-fall accidents due to slick surfaces both indoors and outdoors caused by snow and ice. 

Taking proactive steps like using deicing agents on entryways, reminding visitors and staff to wear the appropriate footwear, and putting up warning signs on snowy or icy areas can help mitigate this risk. It is important for businesses to assess their premises regularly during winter weather events and take measures to ensure a safe environment for visitors and employees.

Access to Business Critical Areas

Winter storms can have immense impacts on business facilities, beyond the obvious issue of snow and ice buildup. It is essential that facility management teams are proactively assessing and maintaining access to all areas of a property that could be considered ‘business critical’. 

Winterizing these places may require additional layers of weather proofing, or special measures such as heating, for instance for loading docks or emergency exit doors. Additionally, inspections should be conducted around all security buildings, stand by generator pads, fire hydrants, emergency call boxes and cross walks to ensure any deterioration has been addressed. Ultimately, the goal is to maintain safe access across the entirety of a business facility throughout winter storms.

Power Outages 

Winter storms are often unpredictable and can bring heavy snowfall. This can lead not only to hazardous driving conditions, but also power outages. As a facility manager, it is important to be prepared for these situations – making investments in technologies such as backup generator systems and surge protection systems will ensure that essential systems like HVAC and security systems remain on during winter storms. 

Emergency lighting should also be considered should you experience an unexpected power outage, so that those in the facility have an alternate source of light until the power is restored. Winter storms are an undoubtedly complicated phenomenon, but managing them doesn’t have to be with the right equipment and preparations.

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Need A Local Commercial Snow and Ice Removal Partner?

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Impacts of Heavy Snow on Structural Components

A prolonged period of heavy snowfall can cause structural damage to buildings due to the weight of the snow that accumulates on roofs and other parts of the building over time.  It is important to identify weak areas of the roof prior to a heavy snow accumulation and prepare for a post storm removal.  

These areas can be awnings, loading dock canopies, and flat roof areas around roof top HVAC systems.  HVAC units are very heavy and adding snow accumulation around those areas can cause structural issues.  Shoveling of heavy accumulation from canopies and flat roofs especially around roof top units is highly recommended.                        

Frozen Pipes 

Cold temperatures can cause pipes within your facility to freeze if not properly insulated or heated during extreme weather conditions. To prevent this from happening, ensure all exposed pipes are properly insulated using foam insulation sleeves or tape wraps before cold temperatures set in.  Verify all heating systems in mechanical rooms are functioning properly prior to below freezing temperatures.

Turn off all water supply valves near exterior walls when temperatures begin dropping significantly so that water does not freeze while passing through those pipes during extreme weather conditions like heavy snowfall or subzero temperatures overnight. This will help ensure that water continues flowing even during extremely cold weather conditions without risking any frozen pipes within your facility’s infrastructure. 

The Impact of Winter Storms on Facility Management

As a facility manager, it is important to be prepared for winter weather conditions. By understanding how to properly maintain your facilities during a storm, you can keep your occupants safe and comfortable while also minimizing the risk of costly damage.

If you need assistance preparing your facility for winter weather, Evercor Facility Management can help. We offer comprehensive facility management services including snow and ice removal, roof shoveling, interior and exterior inspection services, and more. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you keep your facility running smoothly all winter long.