Even though the fall has only just begun, we want to help prepare our commercial clients for the upcoming winter well in advance, because it looks as though winter will be coming quickly this year! After taking a look at the Farmer’s Almanac 2019-20, we can decipher that winter will start out mild but then quickly turn to snow. When it comes to snow, we are expecting above-normal levels of precipitation in the northeast, including here in Connecticut. It’s important that we keep our small and local businesses prepared well in advance of the upcoming winter months. This way we don’t have to face any liabilities, claims, or damage that could have been avoided further down the line.
Before the snow and the cold weather is upon us, it’s important to do a few regular maintenance tasks around your business to make sure everything is sturdy and fully functional. First, it’s important to prevent any water pipes from freezing over. Many people experienced frozen pipes here in Connecticut due to our extreme temperatures. We suggest having your pipes inspected yearly to ensure they are properly insulated and to take active measures during the winter to prevent freezing. Always be sure to turn off your water during any holiday breaks or any period of time that they will not be in use. And for those below zero over nights, you may want to leave a faucet on a slight drip to prevent potential freezing.
When a storm does hit, be sure to clean and remove (or hire someone to do so for you) any snow that lands on your roof before it is there long enough to cause damage. Leaving snow on your roof can lead to extensive property damage that can be costly to repair. Ice dams are very common in New England and can be easily prevented with the proper care and maintenance. For tips on how to remove snow from your roof safely, click here.
We also recommend that you have your heating system fully inspected and cleaned every year by a professional to prevent any outages during or after work hours. Keeping an emergency kit for your business can also come in handy if any large winter storms or if disaster strikes unexpectedly. Ensure you have the proper items in stock, such as flashlights, extra batteries, blankets, energy bars, water bottles, and a first aid kit. As always, it is better to be safe than sorry!
However, once you’ve winterized your building and stocked up on the essentials, you must still perform proper maintenance throughout the season, including things like removing hanging icicles that could pose a danger and shoveling snow that may be too close to the building.
If you are expecting inclement weather in the near future, the first thing that you need to be aware of is that no matter what, there will be days when your business simply cannot open. It can be highly dangerous for your staff and/or customers to try to make it to your business, so in order to avoid risk, it’s best to close up if the weather gets too serious. If this is the case, you should have one of your staff members dedicated to calling into the news stations to broadcast that your business is closed, as well as encourage your staff to subscribe to email or text alerts on news stations that pertain specifically to your business. If doors do have to close for the day, at least this way everyone will be informed.
Speaking of closings, if you do have to close up early, try to have an alternate way of servicing your customers available. Be sure to try to communicate with your customers on their terms, or at least reasonably explain to them that your business has to be closed for the day and let them know when you’ll be back open to take care of their needs. This can be done with an email blast, or could just be a simple phone call between your employees and customers. Whatever you decide to do, just don’t leave your customers hanging, because they will remember that.
If the weather isn’t terrible, but there’s still a little snow falling, you can certainly keep your business open for the day. Just be sure to have snow removal planned well in advance, whether it’s between your team or outsourced. This way you can avoid having any of your customers slip on your property (which could be a terrible claim for your business!). We’d also suggest keeping walkways around your business heavily salted so that if there is snow or precipitation, you can reduce the risk of an accidental fall.
Get the protection you need from an agency you can trust, and if you have any questions or concerns about your commercial policy, you can call us anytime at 860-684-5270. Good luck through the winter everyone!