Insurance Blog

Checklist: Six Important Tips to Avoid Ice Dams, Roof Leaks, and Frozen Pipes This Winter

 

  1. Inspect your roof before the first snowfall, and replace all damaged shingles.
  2. Improve your attic’s insulation. Ice dams are caused by snow melting under a blanket of snow on a warm roof.
  3. Check and clean all gutters and downspouts; clogged gutters often lead to ice dams.
  4. Ensure that all gable, ridge and soffit vents are clear, and that attic insulation doesn’t cover soffit vents.
  5. Use a roof rake to clear excessive snow near the roof edge; be careful not to damage shingles.
  6. Insulate pipes located near outside walls and in crawl spaces. If a pipe has frozen before, it will freeze again!
Sunday, 04 December 2016 20:16

Developing a Cold Weather Plan

A cold weather plan for your facility should be an integral part of your overall maintenance plan for the building and equipment as well as part your emergency response/contingency plan that helps your business respond to and manage an emergency event. Here are some tips to help you develop your cold weather plan.

 

Creating the Plan. Develop a written plan to include actions to be taken during these junctures:

  • Before the onset of winter
  • When a winter storm is imminent and/or damaging cold temperatures are expected
  • After a winter storm and/or prolonged cold weather A plan is only as good as its execution. With that in mind, it is critical to the successful mitigation of damage to your facilities from the winter weather to include the following elements as part of your Cold Weather Plan:
  • Accountability for overall implementation, including pre-winter inspections
  • Defined roles and responsibilities for outlined activities and responses
  • Initial and annual training
  • Annual review of plan to include evaluation of effectiveness and identifying improvement opportunities
  • To aid you in developing your plan, ask your team to consider some “what ifs,” such as:
  • What if you lose heat to the building? What is your contingency plan?
  • What if the facility is closed (weather, holidays, etc.) AND extreme weather is expected? How will you monitor your facility? Will someone be checking on the facility daily?
  • What if a fire protection sprinkler pipe freezes and bursts? Is there someone on the premises who knows how to shut the system off? What about other systems that use water?
  • What if there are areas that you know could be susceptible to freezing? How are you going to monitor them and what steps are you going to take should the temperature become dangerously low?

Before the Onset of Winter

Inspect the Building Develop a checklist to ensure:

  • Openings around exterior walls such as windows, doors, or other openings are sealed
  • Equipment penthouses are secured from cold air infiltration
  • Louvers are closed or sealed
  • Dampers on ducts leading to the outside are closed (if possible)
  • Attics and other areas susceptible to the cold are properly insulated
  • Adequate air flow to maintain heat in all areas of the building to a minimum of 40ºF
  • Roof is in good condition or make repairs as needed – Drains, drain pipes, and gutters are free of debris – Roof cover is free of cracks or blisters – Decking is free of rust or other signs of deterioration – Flashing is secured – There are no cracked or bent roof supports (beams, columns, joists)

Check Utilities and Process Equipment

  • Check and repair heating systems as needed to include boilers, furnaces, ovens, process heaters, etc.
  • Inspect process, water, condensate, steam lines subject to freezing for proper insulation or heat tracing
  • Drain, blow out, or flush lines for seasonal or idle equipment
  • Check alternate fuel supplies for operability and supply adequacy

Check Water-Based Fire Protection Equipment

  • Make sure all your equipment has been checked in accordance with national fire protection association (NFPA) 25, Standard for the Inspection, Testing and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Equipment
  • Be certain that central station water flow alarms are working properly
  • Ensure areas including concealed spaces (attics, above false ceilings, under raised floors, etc.) are heated to 40ºF or greater
  • Dry sprinkler systems – Drain water from low point drains – Ensure piping is properly pitched and replace broken or missing pipe hangers – Check system for air leaks and repair if needed – Make sure low air pressure alarm is functioning
  • Fire pump – Check pump house temperature » Electric engine driver—should be maintained at 40ºF or greater » Diesel engine driver—should be maintained at 70ºF or greater – Ensure suction source is protected from freezing

Identify and Align Resources. The time to identify needed resources is before the winter season starts. Resource needs are going to vary depending on your location and operations. You may need resources such as:

  • Qualified contractor to remove snow and ice from the roof
  • Emergency generator
  • Fuel supplies for critical operations such as fire protection equipment, processes, or on-site generators
  • Snow removal services to ensure access to the property

When a Winter Storm and/or Deep Freeze Is on the Way

  • Monitor weather reports for information to include power outages, potential damage, access to facilities and prepare for action
  • If needed, activate the emergency response team
  • Monitor temperatures in areas susceptible to freezing or significant temperature fluctuations
  • Monitor snow loads of roofs, especially in areas subject to drifts, and take action as needed
  • Clear snow from outside sprinkler control valves and hydrants to keep them accessible
  • Prepare for possible power outage
  • Remove ice dams

After the Storm

  • If needed, conduct a damage assessment and secure resources to complete repairs
  • Initiate salvage operations
  • If power was lost, make sure you have a plan to bring electrical loads back on line to prevent power surges that could damage equipment

For additional resources on cold weather hazards and developing a contingency plan visit the Hanover Risk Solutions website under Preparing for Severe Weather.

 

Thank you to our friends at Hanover Risk Solutions who provided this terrific information!

Sunday, 04 December 2016 20:06

Driving in Ice or Snow? Go Nice and Slow!

From IIABA Trusted Choice®

Cars driving in the snow

When staying home is not an option and you must brave winter roads, Baldwin / Welsh & Parker Trusted Choice® independent insurance agents advise you to remember the ageless moral of the tortoise and hare: Slow and easy wins the race.

From snow blizzards and white-outs to the dreaded black ice, the hazards of winter roadways must be negotiated carefully if you and your vehicle are to arrive at your destination safely. Even with the use of de-icing agents and sand, your chances of slip, sliding away into a ditch, barrier or other car are great. Beyond keeping your vehicle in top winterized condition, caution is the rule of the winter road.

Here are a few helpful winter safe driving tips direct from the experts at AAA:

  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly. To regain traction and avoid skids, apply the gas slowly. And remember that it takes longer to slow down on icy roads, so allow extra time to brake before a stop.
  • Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads, including accelerating, stopping, and turning. Allow extra driving time. Driving slowly also gives you time to maneuver.
  • The safest following distance on normal dry pavement is three to four seconds. On ice or snow, allow eight to 10 seconds of following time. You need the increased margin of safety in order to provide the longer stopping distances required on ice and snow.
  • Know your brakes. Threshold braking is the best way to stop, regardless of the type of brakes on your vehicle. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal. If a wheel locks, release the brake and reapply.
  • Don’t stop if you can avoid it. On slippery roads, it’s much easier to accelerate while the car is still rolling than to start moving from a full stop. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
  • Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on a slippery hill will cause your wheels to spin. Increase speed before you reach the hill, and let that energy carry you to the top. If possible, allow the car in front of you to crest a steep incline before attempting it yourself.
  • Never stop while going up a hill. Starting from a full stop on a hill can be impossible. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed downhill as slowly as possible.

If you can, stay home and watch the snow from indoors. Even if you drive well in the snow, others on the road may not.

Sources:
http://exchange.aaa.com/safety/roadway-safety/winter-driving-tips/
http://exchange.aaa.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/How-To-Go-On-Ice-and-Snow.pdf
http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/weather/weather_events/snow_ice.htm http://www.drivingfast.net/track/threshold-braking.htm#.UM5NAXfWbyY

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