Most likely, your business has already had a hard time with finances this year. You prefer not to have any more problems, but you are aware that you may also have to face winter storms. Some areas have already suffered from winter storms. Being prepared for winter weather and possible power outages can help your business survive better.
Calculating the Potential Problems
Knowing what problems you may have to face in the event of a winter storm will enable you to be better prepared. There are many problems that you could have if an ice or snow storm comes your way and knocks out power for several days. Some problems you may experience include:
- Loss of power
- Insurance coverage needs to be checked to ensure coverage due to winter storm
- Freezing of water pipes – leaving you without water
- Possible freezing destroying inventory, stock, and more
- Sidewalks and driveways covered in snow or ice
- Heavy snow and wind could damage the roof
- Possible inability to access your business
- Some employees being unable to get to work
Creating an Emergency Plan
One thing that can save your business financially is being prepared with an action plan. Knowing exactly what to do in the event of various scenarios will prevent you from having to run around like a chicken with its head cut off.
The more scenarios and solutions you can think of in advance will help reduce stress when a storm comes. Your solutions should also include the order in which problems need to be handled and who should handle them. If you are in a more remote area, it will be necessary to have the closest employees do most of the work. Remember that in more extreme cases, telephone and even cellphone communication could be knocked out for a couple of days.
Things to Include in an Emergency Plan
Having several pieces of equipment and supplies in place in advance can help your business to minimize possible losses. You want to start with having a snow shovel (or snowplow) handy and salt to ensure that no one will slip and fall on your sidewalks or driveways. Many areas require snow and ice to be removed within a few hours – which will be necessary to prevent lawsuits if someone falls.
When communications through cellphones and the Internet are possible, you need to communicate with your employees and the public. Your employees need to know if they should try and come in, and the public needs to know that you are closed – or open. They can be informed by posting it on your website or social media, or by sending an email.
If you have a considerable amount of supplies or stock that could be damaged by freezing, you will need generators (possibly more than one) to heat your business – warm enough to prevent freezing. If you have refrigerators, you will also need power for them to keep food inside from freezing. An alternative would be to move those items that are at risk to a safer location – but roads may not be cleared. Fuel will also need to be on hand to power the generators. Solar power can help but the panels will need to be cleared of snow and ice.
If you use heaters inside (non-electric) that will generate fumes, you also need to have carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. Freezing temperatures can also damage electronics. The temperature inside the building should be kept above 40 degrees F.
If freeze damage is not a serious problem, be sure to drain all pipes of water in advance. Otherwise, there is a risk of water, heater pipes, and sprinkler system pipes freezing. If one bursts, it will create a lot more damage.
Keeping an eye on possible storms is also important. Knowing when one is coming will help you to be better prepared.