Safely Preparing Your Facilities, Buildings, and Janitorial Staff for an Unexpected Winter Storm

While Frosty and Rudolph may enjoy a good snowstorm, winter wonderlands can wreak havoc for facility and building managers. Preparing for inclement weather is crucial to ensure the safety of your occupants and the smooth operation of your facilities.

As many parts of the country know all too well, winter storms don’t just include snow, but rain as well. (Anyone experiencing the famous Pineapple Express Atmospheric River early in February can attest to that!)

 Learn about essential steps you can take to safely prepare your facilities, buildings, and janitorial staff for upcoming ice, snowstorms, and heavy rain.

1. Develop a Winter Storm Preparedness Plan

The first step in preparing for winter storms is to create a comprehensive winter storm preparedness plan.
This plan should include:

  • Identifying key personnel responsible for storm response.
  • Establishing communication protocols.
  • Outlining procedures for snow and ice removal.
  • Ensuring the availability of essential supplies, including salt and snow removal equipment.
  • Setting up a system for tracking and monitoring weather updates.

2. Inspect and Maintain Your Facilities

Regular maintenance is vital to ensure the structural integrity of your facilities during winter storms.
Here are some key areas to focus on:

  • Roof inspections to prevent leaks and snow accumulation.
  • Checking for drafts and insulating areas prone to heat loss.
  • Servicing heating systems and windows to ensure they are in optimal condition.
  • Clearing gutters and drains to prevent ice dams and water damage.

3. Stock Up on Winter Supplies

Maintaining a stock of winter supplies is critical.
This includes:

  • Rock salt or ice melt for de-icing walkways and parking areas.
  • Shovels, snow blowers, and plows for snow removal.
  • Sand for additional traction.
  • Snow removal equipment and protective gear for your janitorial staff.
  • First aid equipment and emergency supplies if the power runs out.

4. Prepare Your Janitorial Staff

Your janitorial staff plays an important role in maintaining a safe and functional facility.
Ensure they are well-prepared by:

  • Conducting training on safe snow and ice removal techniques.
  • Providing them with appropriate clothing and protective gear.
  • Establishing clear schedules for snow removal and building checks.
  • Encouraging open communication with staff during storms.

5. Communication is Key

Effective communication is vital during storms.
Make sure your facility occupants are well-informed by:

  • Setting up a communication system to alert occupants of severe weather conditions and building closures.
  • Posting clear signage with emergency contact information.
  • Establishing an emergency hotline or website for real-time updates.

6. Monitor Weather Conditions

Stay ahead of every storm by monitoring weather conditions closely. Use weather forecasting services and apps to receive timely updates and plan your response accordingly.

7. Create Emergency Kits

Prepare emergency kits for your facilities.
These kits should include:

●      First aid supplies.

●      Flashlights and extra batteries.

●      Non-perishable food and water.

●      Blankets and warm clothing.

8. Test Backup Systems

Ensure all backup systems, especially generators and emergency lighting, are in good working order. Regular testing is crucial to avoid power outages during winter storms.

9. Regularly Review and Update Your Plan

Winter storm preparedness plans should be regularly reviewed and updated to account for changing conditions and lessons learned from past storms. Continuously seek feedback from your janitorial staff and occupants to improve your response.

Preparing your facilities, buildings, and janitorial staff for winter storms is a crucial responsibility for facility managers. By developing a comprehensive winter storm preparedness plan, maintaining your facilities, and ensuring the readiness of your staff, you can keep your facilities safe and operational even hen the snow and rain start to fall. Connect with a facility service provider ready to care for your building, rain, shine, or snow. Click here to schedule a call for a free estimate with an OpenWorks service consultant.

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