Winter storms, nor’easters and other weather events can quickly become life-threatening and cause serious hazards such as frozen pipes, storm surge, high winds and subzero temperatures.

Protect your business by having an updated plan of action at the ready. When the National Weather Center issues a watch or warning, use the time available to begin taking the following steps.

Before a Winter Storm

Protect Your Business

  • Make sure you have access to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) radio broadcasts.
  • Monitor local news and other media for alerts.
  • Do a thorough inspection of your building to ensure items like the roof, gutters, downspouts, flashing or fencing is secure.
  • Maintain a minimum temperature of 55 degrees – monitor rooms so they are properly heated.
  • Before evacuating, locate and close main water shutoff valve and open all faucets to drain any remaining water.
  • Ensure walking surfaces are clear and well-lit, and provide anti-slip treatments.
  • Maintain snow removal equipment to ensure it is properly functioning.
  • Secure or brace outside storage tanks or other structures.
  • Test and maintain backup generators if your facility requires constant supply of electricity for sensitive data or inventory.
  • Maintain a list of preferred repair and restoration companies for any necessary emergency and/or snow cleanup.

Prepare Your Employees, Clients & Inventory

  • Have employee, client, supplier, vendor, utility, etc. contact information and a communication process in place in order to communicate closures or alternate business locations (telework, CAT vans or off-site locations).
  • Use an alert notification system to keep all essential parties posted on status updates and next steps.
  • Ensure remote access to company’s website and social media so updates regarding availability can be made.
  • Know how to re-route phone numbers to another location (VOIP).
  • Take a few minutes to document your buildings, their contents and any inventory with digital photos or video.
  • Make sure employees are able to remotely access company voice messaging systems to keep clients updated/informed.
  • Move all vital and backup records to a waterproof container or off-site.
  • Backup all data on servers and personal computers.
  • Turn off all non-critical devices such as server monitors and workstations. 
  • Manage inventory, supplies and what is vital to the company to minimize damage and the amount of time to reopen.

After a Storm

You and your employees’ safety is top priority — if evacuated, only return when authorities say it is safe to do so.

Follow Safety Guidelines After the Storm Has Passed

  • Account for all employees to ensure their safety.
  • Keep listening to radio, TV or NOAA Weather Radio to make sure the storm has passed.
  • Avoid any flood water — it may be contaminated with sewage or chemicals.
  • Have professionals check gas, water and electrical lines for damage or leaks.
  • Assess damage to buildings and equipment (if damage is extensive, hire an engineer or architect to certify building is safe to return to work).
  • Update your website and social media with changes, updates and other critically important information.
  • Call in key personnel and notify restoration contractors to start emergency repairs, disaster cleanup and begin salvage process to prevent further damage.
  • Before any work is started, take pictures of damage to the buildings, contents, inventory etc. for insurance purposes.

Notify NFP right away if you believe you will have a claim to file.

Commercial Winter Storm Preparedness

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