Mitigating Risk During COVID-19 Pandemic

As this unprecedented COVID-19 situation evolves, you may need to temporarily cease your business operations. Most importantly, follow federal, state and local authorities' guidance and consider these tips when shutting down a facility:

  • Critical equipment: ensure equipment, such as freezers and cold storage, remain on/operational
  • Prevent frozen pipes and water leaks:
    • - Maintain building heat at 55 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent frozen pipes
    • - Consider turning off water supplies to sinks, toilets and appliances
  • Reduce fuel loading:
    • - Remove flammable liquids from processing equipment and drain and cover tanks
    • - Shut off gas mains that aren’t needed
    • - Remove trash, debris and pallets from the facility and store them at least 30 feet from the building
  • Ensure automatic sprinkler protection control valves are secured in the open position and the system is in service
  • If your sprinkler system is supplied by a fire pump, the fire pump control panel should remain on and in the automatic position. Catastrophic loss can occur if the automatic sprinkler systems are impaired
  • Keep fire doors closed and latched or arranged to automatically close during a fire
  • Ensure all alarm systems are activated and in service, including automatic sprinkler alarms, such as water flow and valve tamper, smoke/heat detection and security alarms
  • Check your fire suppression system before closing your facility; maintain inspection, testing and maintenance schedule during the temporary closure
  • Keep trash, debris and idle pallets at least 30 feet from the building
  • Ensure that combustible trash is disposed of or stored properly

Assign operations and maintenance staff to frequently visit the facility to ensure the building is still secure and there are no maintenance issues. If you use or store high-value products or perishable items, increase the frequency of visits and pay close attention to these additional security items:

  • Maintain or add exterior lighting and assure it remains on
  • Make sure fencing and gates are locked
  • Continue security services where possible
  • Secure backup copies of critical data, time sensitive processes and valuable papers off site
  • Ensure that you have phone numbers and contact information for employees so you can communicate and update them on the status of your business
  • Before ceasing operations, have a plan in place for restoring the business
  • Maintain refrigeration systems for food facilities
  • Store vehicles in a designated and locked/protected/well-lit area, if possible
  • Store vehicle with as little fuel as needed to restart operations
  • Disconnect the battery
  • Remove any cargo
  • Lock vehicles and keep the keys in a lock box or safe
  • If multiple vehicles are stored in a lot, offset the wheels so that tires are not in a line to reduce the potential for fire spread
  • If vehicles will be stored for an extended period, check coolant/antifreeze levels
  • Specialty truck/trailers, such as reefers, need to have more extensive maintenance checks done
  • Consider potential weather events, like wind/flood/hail, and position the vehicles for the least exposure

Please contact your independent agent with questions for your Cincinnati loss control representative or to discuss considerations when shutting down your facility. Thank you for trusting your agent and Cincinnati to protect your business.

Our loss control service is advisory only. We assume no responsibility for management or control of customer loss control activities or for implementation of recommended corrective measures. These materials were gathered from trade services and public information. We have not tried to identify all exposures. We do not warrant that this information is consistent with Cincinnati underwriting guidelines or with any federal, state or local law, regulation or ordinance.

Find An Agency