Keep Your Business Safe During the Winter

Is your business prepared for severe weather with dangerous wind and snow this winter?

To effectively and successfully prepare for and respond to unexpected events, a business should have a recovery plan to assist with the three phases of a disaster: preparing, responding and recovering. If you don’t, here are some last minute things you can do to help ensure your business is prepared for a winter storm.

Before a storm

Pay close attention to weather forecasts and any winter weather warnings that may be shared. They will clue you in to the severity of the weather headed your way. If you have any outdoor items that could become flying debris, secure them before the storm hits to avoid further damage to your building.

Contact employees, along with key customers and suppliers, in the event you decide to close your business. Post a closed sign on your door and give notice on the company intranet, website and social media. Make arrangements to work from another location or from home, if possible.

If you plan on staying open through snowy conditions, take steps to make your business as safe as possible for customers and employees. Keep salt bags and a shovel handy to clear walkways. Don’t forget to clear areas around downspouts and street drains so debris doesn’t pile up.

During a storm

When the temperature drops, frozen pipes are one of the biggest risks of property damage. To keep pipes from freezing, keep the temperature no lower than 55 degrees. Keep in mind that the freezing point for water is 32 degrees. It doesn’t take subzero temperatures for a pipe problem to develop. If you suspect a frozen pipe, don’t take any chances. Call a plumber immediately.

Keep employees and customers well informed on the status of your facility. If the weather lets up and you can reopen, they’ll be some of the first to want to know. Conversely, if conditions worsen enough to warrant closing, do so and keep key people in the loop.

After a storm

Once you’ve weathered the storm, it’s time to assess the state of your business. If the facility was closed, designate specific personnel to return and evaluate the equipment and whether any damage was done. Dry any wet building materials promptly to avoid mold or further damage. Document any losses with a camera or video recorder. Check the walls and foundation for leaks and cracks.

Check the outside of the building also and remove excessive snow buildup, ice dams on the roof and debris from downspouts and street drains. Don’t forget to notify customers and suppliers when your business reopens.

If you need help, contact us

If you need to file a claim, contact your ERIE Agent or call one of our field offices. For claims service on evenings and weekends, call (800) 367-3743. You can also file a claim online.

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