Facility Dude

How to prepare for a winter storm

By Kate Donnelly
Nov 09, 2015

Facilities Management, Safety and Risk Management

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How to prepare for a winter storm Winter storms can be deadly because they reduce driving visibility, trap people indoors and lower temperatures to dangerous levels. As a facility manager, it's up to you to set the procedures for handling severe winter weather. Fortunately, using a computerized maintenance management system can save you a a good deal of trouble when it comes to implementing a plan. 

Preparing your facility for a storm

Besides all of the preventative maintenance you've done to keep your buildings safe, your lots winterized and your heating systems working, there's still some things to do to keep your staff safe. Previously, the blog discussed how to educate your staff about the effects of cold stress. Proper training is vital when it comes to dealing with severe weather, but it only goes as far as the equipment on hand allows it. When you set up your severe weather emergency plan, make sure your facility is well stocked with essential survival gear.

According to the National Weather Service, you should keep a battery powered weather radio on site in case of very severe weather. If the power goes out, you'll still get updates about the situation outside. The announcements it broadcasts will let you know when it's safe to return to work or when it's time to leave the facility. Fuel supplies are another must have. If the temperatures drop and your heating system fails, you should have extra fuel to keep you warm. This could mean having a portable generator on hand. And of course, it's always important to have the proper first-aid supplies located in easy to find areas of your facility.

Preparing your vehicle for a storm

When you send out staff into the field, they should be supplied for most emergencies. Lifehacker reported that the number one thing to consider is the maintenance schedule of your vehicles. Have they had recent tune-ups? The best way to prevent a stalled car is to make sure it's ready for winter. That means changing the type of wiper fluid, oil and weighing down the back end for added traction.

Nevertheless, accidents can happen, it's still best to be prepared. Staff should be able to keep themselves warm and hydrated for several hours or longer if the situation calls for it. That means taking along bottles of water and heat packs. In a worse case scenario, a stuck driver could melt snow and use it for drinking water. Staff in vehicles should also carry a first-aid kit, not to mention other necessities like food, and toiletries. Other than items to keep themselves safe, staff should be equipped with items that will assist them in signaling for help. LED flashlights, flares and candles all work well.

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