Winter Weather Preparedness Tips for Small Businesses

Topics: Small Business

The winter season brings with it the potential for adverse weather conditions: extreme cold, high winds, snow and sleet, and icy roads and sidewalks. As a small business owner, you want to ensure your organization is able to stay open and thriving no matter what the season brings. This means adequate preparation for winter storms to keep your business, property and employees safe.

Preparing Your Small Business for Winter 

small business owner winter

Here are some tips to help prepare your small business for wintertime:

Stay Ahead of the Weather

Make sure to keep an eye on your local weather forecast. If you haven’t done so already, consider downloading a reputable smartphone application that can come in handy to alert you of winter weather activity in your area. Getting out in front of a severe winter storm as much as possible will help give you more time to prepare your property, business operations and your employees as the adverse weather approaches.

Prepare Your Business Operations

Make sure all communication devices as well as laptops and other essential electronics are fully charged before taking them with you. Consider creating multiple back-ups or copies of electronic files, and store records off premises as much as possible.

Contact any vendors, third-party suppliers, etc. that you work with regularly to discuss a plan for continuing operations during the storm. For example, if your small business relies upon another party to deliver inventory to your location, how will you receive your supplies?

Prepare Your Small Business Property

Begin with the outside by relocating any materials or equipment that could be damaged by extreme cold and snow to a secure area. Move any vehicles your business needs to a safe location, such as a covered garage, to help prevent any possible damage or from being stuck due to snow accumulation. Avoid concentrating all vehicles in any one building unless the building has automatic fire protection.

Check for any damaged supports and loose or missing roofing materials as these areas are vulnerable to snow loads, high winds and water penetration. Make sure to have these fixed by a professional as soon as possible. Arrange with qualified and insured contractor(s) for removal of drifts, excessive snow, or water-laden snow or ice from roofs. Also, check for clear and open roof drains and for any gaps around flashing or locations where objects are secured to the roof, such as antennas. These issues should be addressed immediately.

Remove snow and ice should be regularly from parking lots, entryways and sidewalks, and proper measures (like salting) should be done to help prevent slips and falls. Placing non-slip mats in front of entryways can help further prevent slipping as employees and customers enter and exit your business property.

Installing a generator is a great way to prepare for the possibility of power loss and to help reduce business disruption. It enables your small business to continue operating some or all of your electronic equipment and lights. It can help avoid or reduce commercial property damage from freezing temperatures. To learn more about generators and how to safely use them, check out these helpful tips from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Additionally, our infographic below has a few tips to get your small business prepared for a winter storm:

Protect Your Workforce

Last, but not least - the most significant winter weather preparedness tip is to protect your most important asset: your workforce. If possible, close your office at a time that allows your employees ample opportunity to safely travel home, so that they can secure their residence and prepare for a snow storm. Should a storm hit during non-business hours, making winter driving difficult and dangerous, offer the capability for your employees to work from home (if your type of business supports this) by allowing secure access to your business network.

AmTrust Offers Commercial Property Protection

Commercial package loss control is a multi-faceted process that varies by the type of business, region of the country, the season and other factors. AmTrust is here to help. Check out our commercial property protection section of our website, as well as our other loss control resources. Or, please contact us today to learn more. Check our blog regularly for more up-to-date news, tips and information on the insurance industry.

This material is for informational purposes only, summarizes coverages and services that may be available in a policy, and is not legal or business advice. Neither AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. nor any of its subsidiaries or affiliates represents or warrants that the information contained herein is appropriate or suitable for any specific business or legal purpose. Readers seeking resolution of specific questions should consult their business and/or legal advisors.

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