Risky Business: Winter is coming
By Ashleigh Petersen Mary Ann Gormly, CERP
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Risky Business: Winter is coming

Tips to ensure you are prepared

Just as there are steps you should take to prepare for the hottest part of the year, winter deserves equal attention. Snow, ice and power outages due to both can wreak havoc on your business.

Last winter, an unseasonable cold snap hit parts of our country that typically don’t experience freezing weather. Pipes froze and burst, roofs collapsed due to the weight of the snow and buildings flooded when the temperatures started rising.

Many rental stores were caught up in the deep freeze. One rental operation experienced most of the above. There was a power outage which caused the heater to stop operating. The pipes on the exterior walls froze and burst because they didn’t have sufficient insulation surrounding them.

When the power was back on, and/or the temperatures started rising, the buildings flooded due to the pipes being broken. Water leaked into the office area. Damage was throughout the kitchen, breakroom area and offices. There was evidence of delamination to the vinyl flooring, swelling to the doors and casings, and swelling to the cabinetry.

The flooring throughout the building needed to be replaced and there was damage to the lower part of the sheetrock that had to be replaced up to 2 ft. high, building wide.

The warehouse part of the building also experienced some flooding. It had concrete floors and the product in the warehouse was all on jacks, skids or pallets, so none of the equipment was damaged or destroyed.

As everything was repaired and/or replaced, they took precautions to minimize damage moving forward if unusual temperatures come to the area this winter.

The National Weather Service suggests the following:

Check the forecast at weather.gov or on your favorite weather app, station, etc. Make checking the forecast part of your regular routine so you will know when to expect cold weather.

If possible, adjust your schedule to avoid being outside during the coldest part of the day, typically the early morning.

Protect your pets, livestock and other property. If you have pets or farm animals, make sure they have plenty of food and water, and are not overly exposed to extreme cold.

Take precautions to ensure your water pipes do not freeze. Know the temperature thresholds of your plants and crops.

Make sure your vehicle has at least a half of a tank of gas during extreme cold situations so that you can stay warm if you become stranded.

Dress for the outdoors even if you don’t think you will be out much.

Update your winter car survival kit.

Take steps now so you are not caught unaware if the deep freeze arrives in your area this winter.

Ashleigh Petersen

Ashleigh PetersenAshleigh Petersen

Ashleigh Petersen is the associate editor for Rental Management. She writes news and feature articles, plus coordinates the monthly Safety Issue and several sections in the magazine. Ashleigh loves spending time with her husband and young son, baking, gardening and listening to true crime and comedy podcasts.

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