Facility Dude

The first steps to take after a winter storm

By Kate Donnelly
Nov 13, 2015

Facilities Management, Safety and Risk Management

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What you should do after a winter storm The storm has passed. Hopefully you had prepared in advance for the possibility of severe winter weather and acted properly during the worst of the blizzard. But what now? Just because the storm has passed and the sun is shining once more doesn't mean the coast is clear. Dangers could still linger after the the snow has stopped falling from the sky. Don't let the relief cloud your judgment. It's a great idea to have a post-storm checklist in your computerized maintenance management system. 

Keep up-to-date

Sometimes what seems like the end of a storm is only a break in the worst of it. When you think the storm has passed, check the local weather reports to make sure it's really over. The National Weather Service suggested that you should begin checking road conditions after the worst of the storm has passed, especially if you have staff out in vehicles. Radio or call field staff to make sure they are safe and that they are able to return to the facility. Oftentimes, roads won't be clear for several hours after a heavy storm. If a crew has gotten trapped, notify the proper authorities.

The next step should be to check on the utilities. If there was a power outage, call the company to find out when it will be restored. Was there any damage to the gas lines? Inspect any areas that might have been damaged or frozen during the storm - it's better to get an idea of the damage now so that you can avoid exacerbating the problems. After the work is done at the facility, have staff members check that their cars are able to leave the parking lot. You might need to call someone to clear the lot entrances.

Road Safety

New York Daily News reported that it's not a good idea to drive immediately after a storm and only to do so if it's absolutely necessary. Just because the snow has stopped doesn't mean the roads are safe. Crews on the road may not want to drive all the way back to the facility if it's far away. A safer option might be to carefully drive to a closer building and wait there until it's safe to drive long distances. If the temperature dropped significantly during the blizzard, it's a good idea to check on the tire pressure, as they may have deflated during the storm. This goes for vehicles that were parked in the lot as well.

Stay in contact

After a storm has passed and you've checked your facility, communicated with crews on the road and contacted the utility companies, it's a good idea to keep in touch with your staff as they head home, especially if it's nighttime. If you're worried about road conditions, have staff check in to let everyone else know they made it home safely. Also, if your facility is located in a park with other businesses, be neighborly and  that everyone else weathered the storm and made it through in one piece.

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