Given the recent storms across Canada and the likelihood of heavy, wet snowfall in the weeks to come, our friends at Dominion of Canada Insurance Co have put together some tips to help make sure your home or business is properly prepared -
WET SNOW It is the weight, not the depth of the snow, which is cause for concern. Light and fluffy snow may weigh between 5 – 20 lbs per square foot, packed snow between 20 – 40 lbs, and moisture laden snow upwards of 45 pounds per square foot. The removal of wet snow should be your priority!
DRIFTS If your building or home is located in an open and particularly windy location, pay special attention to the accumulated snow from drifts.
ICE Be sure to remove any ice buildup on areas with high foot traffic, including driveways, parking lots and sidewalks. These are the most common areas for slip and falls.
Know what to look for. Signs that the snow load on your home or building is cause for concern include:
doors that suddenly start to stick, particularly upstairs doorways on interior walls;
cracks that become visible in drywall; and
cracks in plaster around doorframes.
Take precautions for the future: add these tips to your annual maintenance list.
Clogged drains, gutters and downspouts will prevent water, melting snow or rain from safely draining away. As the temperature drops, refreezing may cause an ice dam to form. Each year before the beginning of winter, gutters, downspouts and drains should be cleaned of debris. The area immediately surrounding the downspout should be kept clear of snow and ice to prevent a blockage.
Keep tarps on hand to protect goods and equipment, should they need to be temporarily moved outside.
Clearly mark exit doors, and keep them free of any obstructions.
Develop and practice an evacuation plan, taking into consideration the possibility of a roof collapse. A designated rendezvous location away from the home or building should be selected. A manual head count should be a part of your plan, to confirm all persons are accounted for.
If you own a business or a building, develop a business continuity plan. Identify other locations or organizations that could assist in keeping your business operational in the event of damage from excessive snow accumulation.