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Weathering Winter Weather Risks
January 14, 2020
Before more freezing weather, heavy snow or ice arrives this winter, now is the time for business owners to prepare and reduce their risk of property damage and business interruption. AXA XL Risk Consulting offers guidance.
A late Thanksgiving in the US in 2019 put travelers squarely in the path of a large and dangerous winter storm. As it moved eastward, the storm dumped heavy snow ranging from parts of California to the northern Midwest and inundating other areas with rain. The storm was expected to hit the northern plains with up to a foot of snow, prompting the City of Duluth, MN, to issue a “no travel advisory” due to the potential historic nature of the storm. Earlier in the month, strong winter storms hammered Europe from Spain to Greece.
Before the next round of freezing weather, heavy snow or ice arrives, now is the time for business owners to prepare and reduce their risk of property damage and business interruption. To help businesses weather the rest of this wild winter, AXA XL’s Risk Consulting team offers some general guidelines and five detailed checklists to protect your business operations. Download our Winter Weather Preparation Checklists here.
Sure. It LOOKS light and fluffy.
Heavy snowfall and drifting snow can result in dangerous amount of weight that can collapse a roof. A cubic foot of snow weighs about 8 pounds, but when that snow turns to ice, the weight increases by a factor of eight. So, what if the snowfall weight exceeds the roof design load? To avoid a building collapse, plan ahead a predetermined snow depth to trigger snow removal. This can be less than 30 cm (1 ft) in regions where buildings are not designed for snow load accumulation.
In the winter, a properly functioning HVAC system can help prevent cold-related damage like burst pipes and resultant flooding. But HVAC systems are also subject to their own risks due to cold. Make sure to:
- Drain outside unprotected pipes or adjust the antifreeze concentration in exposed HVAC systems.
- Thoroughly check all heating systems before the start of the heating season. This includes boilers and their associated steam lines, heaters, heat tracing, etc.
Fire and ice
Increased use of heating appliances, holiday decorations and open flames can bring a commensurate increase in the risk of structure fires. It is essential, therefore, to ensure fire protection systems are fully functional. Ensure you:
- Prepare all fire protection systems for winter: drain water from dry systems, test antifreeze to insure proper concentration, confirm heater and low temperature alarm are working on the fire pump room and suction tank, etc.
- Mark the location of all fire hydrants on site and clear them following any significant snowfall.
Get ahead of the next storm
The best time to prepare for an emergency is long before one happens. But it’s also never too late to prepare. So, take a moment to Download our five Winter Weather Preparation Checklists and begin making your plans for dealing with the effects of the next winter storm.
Whatever lies ahead this winter, it’s vital for businesses not to get caught unprepared when the snow starts falling. For additional information on preventing winter-related losses at your facility, please contact your local AXA XL Risk Consultant.
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