Preparing for Winter Weather

Winter weather brings concerns about heat and maximizing its retention, frozen pipes, and access to your place of business & home. The following checklist will help you identify the areas of your business or home that are most susceptible to winter hazards and to suggest ways to minimize damage. It is a good idea to develop a plan of action for your business, your staff and your family to be ready for this type of interruption. Below you will find critical information and preparedness tools to assist in protecting both your business and your home.

Before the Storm:

  • Check your insurance coverage for protection against all types of storm hazards.
  • Add the following supplies to your disaster supplies kit: rock salt (to melt ice on driveways), sand (to improve traction), and snow shovels (or other snow removal equipment).
  • Determine your greatest risk potential: loss of heat, frozen pipes, and/or loss of access due to snow/ice.
  • Identify who is responsible for snow/ice removal, verify the how much you will be charged and in the case of a very large snowfall any additional charges that maybe accrued for heavier equipment needed to clear or move snow off site.
  • Are portable heaters or other emergency equipment needed/available?
  • If snow and/or ice prohibit access to your home or business via the main entrance, are there alternative ways to enter your premises safely?
  • Seal all openings with caulking and insulation where cold air can enter.
  • Repair walls and roofs to prevent drafts; inspect roof drains for debris.
  • Make sure storm windows are effective, if appropriate.
  • Make sure heating and heat-producing process equipment is in good condition and operating efficiently.
  • Provide proper lubrication on equipment for cold weather operation (i.e., emergency generators, snow blowers).
  • Mark hydrants near your home & business for ease in locating and clearing after a heavy storm.

During the Storm:

  • Heaters, snow blowers, generators, and cold-weather equipment should be located where it is most likely to be used.
  • Keep driveways, walkways, and doorways clear of snow and ice.
  • Open water faucets slightly to let them drip in order to keep water flowing through the pipes that are vulnerable to freezing. Ice may still form, but the open faucet helps prevent the pipe from bursting by allowing relief for any built up pressure.
  • Names and phone numbers of your heating contractor, plumber, fire department, insurance agent, should be easily accessible.

After the Storm:

  • Assess any and all damaged.
  • Stay away from downed power lines!
  • Call insurance agent if needed.
  • Clear all sidewalks, driveways and fire hydrants.

Winter storms may range from a moderate snow in a short amount of time to a blizzard lasting for days. Some storms are regional and may affect several states, while others are more localized, depending upon geography and terrain.  Common characteristics of winter storms are dangerously low temperatures, strong winds, ice, sleet, and freezing rain.

Common Terms to know:

  • Winter storm watch > be alert, a storm is likely
  • Winter storm warning > take action, the storm is in or entering the area
  • Blizzard warning > snow and strong winds combined will produce blinding snow, near zero visibility, deep drifts, and life-threatening wind chill. Seek refuge immediately!
  • Winter weather advisory > winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous, especially to motorists.
  • Frost/freeze warning > below freezing temperatures are expected and may cause damage to plants, crops and fruit trees.

Follow news on the most recent winter storm “Fortis” on

View our Harris & Kenseal Fall and Winter Flyer here. Stay Safe!

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