Protect buildings over the February holidays
February is the month in which CIRMA members experience the highest frequency and severity of property losses. Snow loading and frozen pipe bursts from the cold temperatures can cause significant damage to public buildings, especially if problems go unnoticed overnight or over a long weekend. It is important to have staff ready and property protection measures in place for the upcoming holiday break.
CIRMA urges all of its members to prepare their buildings, vehicles, personnel, and emergency response equipment for cold weather:
- Keep thermostats above 65 degrees when the facility is to be unoccupied for a weekend or longer.
- Even when the building is unoccupied, building and room thermostats should never be set lower than 55 degrees.
- Closed-in areas of your buildings that have poor air circulation are likely to be much colder than in the room itself, causing pipes located there to freeze. Leave ceiling panels, room and cabinet doors open wherever possible to encourage the circulation of warm air into cold-spots, especially in locations near water pipes.
- Consider holding "Freeze Watches," in which designated staff are available to monitor building temperatures and conditions during severely cold weather.
- Have a snow and ice removal plan for roadways, sidewalks, and roofs.
Downed Power Lines/Power Failures
Below freezing temperatures combined with power outages may lead to major damage caused by frozen water pipes; a power outage during a freeze is considered a critical threat to property. Download guidelines for use of Generators and Portable Generators. Remember: All downed power lines should be assumed to be live and the local utility company should be immediately notified of their location. Download Preventing Frozen Pipes, Preparing for Winter Storms for information on these topics and information on what to do if your building pipes freeze.
Visit CIRMA's Winter Weather Precautions page for more information about preparing for cold weather emergencies. For assistance in implementing these recommendations, please contact your CIRMA Risk Management Consultant.
Protect and Prepare Your Staff Too!
- The number of slip and fall accidents increases during cold weather. Visit our "Preventing Slip and Fall Awareness" page for information and handouts on preventing these common and costly cold weather-related accidents.
- Encourage your staff to take CIRMA's online training courses to prepare them for the winter ahead: Dealing with Cold Stress and Preventing Slips, Trips & Falls - Local Government.
- Provide your staff with a list of emergency telephone numbers, including snow removal contacts, heating system repair, utility company, the weather bureau, and the risk manager. Have cold-weather gear on hand such as hats, gloves, emergency blankets, flashlights and batteries.
New "Preventing and Mitigating Frozen Pipes" On-demand Webinar
Presented by Stephen Greeson, PE, CSP, ARM of Hartford Steam Boiler.
The presentation will provide you with the resources and concepts needed to prevent water pipes located inside a building from bursting due to ice formation. View the Webinar
New "Snow Loading" On-demand Webinar
Presented by Stephen Greeson, PE, CSP, ARM of Hartford Steam Boiler
Structure collapse due to snow load is a real risk to municipal property in Connecticut. This presentation will provide you with the resources and concepts needed to limit the damage that a snow load can do to a building. View the Webinar.
To report a property loss, please use any of the following phone or fax numbers or email addresses below:
CIRMA Switchboard: 203-946-3700
Claims Fax: 203-497-2449
Cynthia Mancini, Liability-Auto-Property Claims Manager
After Hours Emergency: 203-804-5917
Brenda Gillis, Sr. Property Claim Representative
Work Cell: 203-710-4479
All Workers' Compensation claims should be reported online at NetClaims.net.