Business Owners Can Avoid Mishaps From Winter Perils

NOVATO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Firemans Fund Insurance Company says, Dont leave your tenants out in the cold this winter. The company released a new animated video that captures the perils of winter and offers simple tips to commercial property owners in an entertaining yet meaningful animation. Prevention allows property owners to limit the inconvenience and disruption from weather-related losses and supports a more intentional approach to managing the total cost of risk, says Scott Steinmetz P.E., assistant vice president of loss control engineering at Firemans Fund. Preparing a commercial building for winter creates a safer environment for the tenants and improves the resiliency of the building envelope and systems. Start at the Top Start your winter preparations at the top on the roof. Autumn brings leaves and wind, both of which can impact your facility. Start by checking roof drains they should be clear and in good condition. Now is the time to properly dispose of any leaves before they block a drain. Blocked drains are a leading cause of roof leaks and can even cause collapse. Carefully check flashing and all seams for damage. Replace or repair any damaged sections that will not last until spring. Inspect hatches and roof equipment access doors to confirm that they are properly secured. Also, think about heavy snow accumulation. How will you clear it from the roof? Where will you put it? How will you avoid damage while clearing it? Will skylights pose a safety hazard that requires barricades, covers or other measures? Check Fire Systems Fire systems should be checked at least once a year. There are several things to check to be sure your system is well protected. If your fire system has any antifreeze loops (often found in cold areas subject to freezing), have a qualified sprinkler firm service the antifreeze levels. Look for an inspection tag near the antifreeze line. If you don't see one, ask your sprinkler company about it. Check the sprinkler valves too. Is the control valve area warm enough to prevent freezing? Ideally there will be a dedicated heater and, better yet, central station alarm supervision of the area to ensure it stays warm. Look for any drips and leaks. When the weather gets cold, the water will freeze and cause a slip hazard. Take a walk around the building to see that windows and hatches are securely closed. Sprinkler freezing is frequently caused by a window that will not quite close or a cover that does not fit. Better to heat and insulate your pipes now than to get a sprinkler flow alarm early one January morning. Mark outside sprinkler connections and valves for visibility. It may be tough for the fire department to find them if they are not kept clear. Remove Ice and Snow Sign snow removal contracts with reputable companies before winter starts. Choose contractors whose equipment is in peak condition and who will keep detailed records of their work. Have the contracts reviewed by your legal counsel for proper indemnification agreements and insurance requirements prior to signing. Have the contractor move the snow to the lowest point possible on the property and where water from the melted snow will not flow into driving or walking areas. Think about placing it where it will not block drivers' views. Be sure to have a supply of sand and ice melt for winter maintenance. Prevent Site Damage Before snow falls, mark curbs, fire hydrants, drains, speed bumps and other features that may not be visible with several inches, or even feet, of snow. Damage to curbing and shrubs can be common if they are hidden. Car stops are not preferred because they create tripping hazards. But if they are present, they should be marked so the plow operator can work around them. Moved or damaged car stops, or resulting exposed rebar, can be a trip-and-fall hazard. Check for appropriate insulation on pipes to prevent pipes from freezing. Light Things Up As days get shorter, its a good time to recheck all outside illumination. If your site uses timers, you have an additional challenge to keep them adjusted to synch-up with the shortening days. Avoid Space Heaters Chronically cold tenants probably have space heaters hidden away in closets, under desks and in other creative spots in your building. Most local building codes prohibit them for good reason they are a leading cause of fires. If restrictions cause a relationship problem with a tenant or occupant, ask your local fire department or code official for their help in assessing and explaining the safety issues. About Firemans Fund Insurance Company Founded in 1863, Firemans Fund Insurance Company recently celebrated its 150th anniversary as a premier property and casualty insurance company providing personal and commercial insurance products backed by industry-leading claims and risk management solutions. Firemans Fund is a leader in high net worth, entertainment, and green insurance. Since 2004, the company has donated more than $31 million in grants to local fire departments across the U.S. as part of its commitment to safer communities. Firemans Fund is a member of the Allianz Group, one of the worlds largest providers of property and casualty insurance, ranked 31st on Fortunes Global 500 list of the worlds largest corporations. For additional information, visit This news release provides general information and recommendations that may apply to many different situations. Consult with your specialists to determine how and whether the information in this news release might guide you in developing specific plans or procedures. 2014 Firemans Fund Insurance Company, Novato, CA 94998 - - href='' - -