By Grainger Editorial Staff 3/30/21
Winter storms and cold weather may leave damage in their wake from wind, snow and ice accumulation. Recovery after a winter storm requires completing activities that help businesses return to normal operations, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
For many of these winter recovery tasks, you'll likely be working outdoors and will need essential supplies to help get your people and facility back in working order. Review this list of supplies to ensure you're well-stocked to recover from winter weather.
Protective clothing. Employees who work outdoors or in unheated facilities, like warehouse coolers or loading areas, will need warm workwear that insulates and protects against cold, windy or wet conditions. In addition to layered jackets and gloves, you may want to provide cold-weather headwear and liners, a knit face mask, thermal underwear and heated outerwear. This type of clothing will also help reduce workers' risk of cold stress.
Traction devices. While matting helps reduce the risk of slips, trips and falls, some employees must trek over snow or ice as part of their jobs. Traction devices such as ice cleats attach to existing footwear and help secure footing when walking on ice, snow or slippery surfaces. Some of these devices attach with straps and can be removed when an employee goes indoors. Your vehicle fleet may also need traction, like tire chains to help navigate snowy, icy roads.
First-aid supplies. Because icy and slippery conditions present hazards, it may be wise to ensure you have first aid and wound care supplies stocked. This may include adhesive bandages, topical ointments, creams and antiseptics, as well as non-prescription medications. These supplies can be stocked inside your facilities and may also be handy to store in company vehicles.
Fleet/Vehicle supplies. Fleet drivers should have supplies that help keep their vehicles operating after a winter storm. To make sure their engine starts, they need to prevent any water vapor in the fuel tank from freezing by keeping the gas tank at least half full or adding specially formulated antifreeze. Having battery chargers and jumper cables on hand to help start vehicles in the field or the shop are suggested as well.
Snow and ice removal supplies. During the recovery phase, initial steps to make facilities safe for workers to return may include clearing parking areas and walking paths of snow and ice. Beyond snow shovels and snow blowers, you may also need ice scrapers and choppers that help remove ice and hard-packed snow from sidewalks and parking lots. Traction control granules help prevent snow from freezing and clumping, provide traction in heavy foot traffic areas and make it easier to safely navigate icy and snow-covered walking paths.
Water and moisture mitigation. To clean areas that may have flooded, use wet/dry vacuums, buckets and squeegees to soak up standing water and cleaning chemicals to help disinfect surfaces. After the initial facility clean up, use dehumidifiers to dry affected areas as quickly as possible to help prevent mold from growing.
Roof repair supplies. Heavy snow and ice accumulation or excessive wind may cause roof leaks or damage and even collapsed roofs. You can lessen the load on roofs by using roof rakes to remove snow buildup. Removing snow buildup reduces the chance of structural collapse or water leakage and minimizes the ice formation which can clog gutters. If your roof has been damaged, start with roof repair products such as flashing, tape and leak repair kits, then add a roof coating to help reduce leaks and extend roof life.
As part of the recovery phase, businesses should review their preparedness plans to ensure they are ready if and when the next winter storm approaches, according to FEMA.
The information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. No representation is made that the information or references are complete or remain current. This article is not a substitute for review of current applicable government regulations, industry standards, or other standards specific to your business and/or activities and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the applicable standards or consult with an attorney.