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Prepare Your Property for Winter

Take measures today to prepare your property and to minimize the damages and injuries often experienced in these cold winter months. Injuries increase in winter due to slips, trips and falls. Prevent property damage caused by furnace fires, space heaters, wood-burning stoves and candles, damage due to ice and snow loading on gutters and roofs and damage from frozen pipes. Take action now to protect your property from winter-related damages and injuries. Here are some suggestions:

Building Exterior

  • Roof: inspect and repair. Seal around vents and other protrusions to prevent roof leaks.
  • Gutters and downspouts: remove all obstructions and make sure they are properly secured.
  • Exterior water lines: drain and winterize to prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Drains: clear debris so that water drains away from your property.
  • Basements: are you prepared for water backups?
  • Trees: inspect trees near structures and walk areas and remove unsafe branches.

Building Interior

  • Furnaces: inspect, tune-up, check filters, check venting and assure property clearances to combustibles.
  • Space heaters: prohibit or minimize use and assure safe location and operation.
  • Wood-burning stoves and chimneys: inspect for safe use.
  • Interior pipes: protect from freezing. Be very careful if attempting to thaw a frozen pipe. Do NOT thaw frozen pipes with open flames or torches.
  • Faucets: leave dripping during intense cold.
  • Alarms: test all fire, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Smoking: do not allow smoking inside of your building.

Fire Protection Systems

  • Sprinkler pipes: protect any sprinkler pipes that are exposed to temperatures below 40 degrees to protect from freezing.
  • Antifreeze systems: have antifreeze systems tested annually for adequate concentration.
  • Dry pipe systems: make sure the heat in the riser room is maintained at least 40° F minimum.
  • Sprinkler system: make sure the system is currently serviced, operational and ready for winter.
  • Fire pump rooms:  must be heated to 40° F minimum (warmer for diesel pumps).
  • Connections: keep hydrants, valves and standpipe connections accessible and marked.

Slip, Trip and Fall Prevention

  • Review contracts with snow removal contractors and assure you have adequate protection.
  • Keep sidewalks and parking lots free of ice and snow accumulations.
  • Be prepared for ice with salt, ice melt and shovels. If you have a snow blower, is it ready for use?
  • Check exterior lighting, especially those illuminating walking surfaces.
  • Eliminate water drainage across key walking areas from downspouts and roofs.
  • Control wet walking surfaces inside and out with appropriate mats and warning signs.

Emergency Preparations

  • Create a weather emergency plan.
  • Assemble flashlights, batteries, emergency weather radio and an emergency contact list.
  • Create a plan for loss of power, including considerations for maintaining heat and preventing frozen pipes.
  • Establish safe equipment shut down procedures.
  • Have your generator ready for use. Remember to operate generators only outdoors and to store fuel in safe manner.
  • Use caution when burning candles. Many fires are caused by use of candles.

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.

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