Severe cold weather alert
Severe low temperatures and strong winds are predicted for tonight in many parts of Connecticut. Frozen pipe bursts from these subzero temperatures are a critical threat to municipal and school property.
Last winter, CIRMA members sustained damage of well over $2 million from frozen pipes and cold temperatures. Much of this damage could have been prevented by following the precautions listed below:
- Keep thermostats above 65 degrees when the weather may dip below 0 degrees or 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 and room and cabinet doors open wherever possible to encourage the circulation of warm air into cold-spots, especially in locations near water pipes.
- During a storm, consider holding "Freeze Watches," in which designated staff are available to monitor building temperature and conditions. Have a snow and ice removal plan for roadways, sidewalks, and roofs.
- Winter storms may cause power outages from downed lines. Sub-zero temperatures combined with power outages are a critical threat to property and may lead to major damage from frozen water pipes. Download Preventing Frozen Pipes and Preparing for Winter Storms for information on these topics and what to do if your building pipes do freeze.
Downed Power Lines
All downed power lines should be assumed to be live and the local utility company should be notified of their location. If you have generators, make sure they are rated properly for the job and good to go. While emergency generators may keep building temperatures adequate, their proper use is vital. Electricity from your generator can back-feed to power lines, killing or seriously injuring line crews who are working to repair the lines. A transfer switch stops back-feeding, and also makes using your generator much more convenient, allowing appliances to be operated much like when the power is turned on. Download guidelines for use of Generators and Portable Generators.
Prepare your Staff
The National Weather Service warns that the bitterly cold wind chills could result in frostbite or hypothermia if proper precautions are not taken. Everyone is advised to dress warmly and in layer with hats and gloves. Be on the lookout, too, for black ice as the cold arctic air rushing into the area will cause the flash freezing of residual water along roadways and walks.
Staff should have a list of emergency telephone numbers, including snow removal contact, heating system repair, utility company, the weather bureau, and the risk manager. Have extra cold weather gear on hand such as hats, gloves, emergency blankets, flashlights and batteries.
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.
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: 203-773-8134
Cathy Gambrell, Liability-Auto-Property Claims Manager
Fax: 203- 497-2422
Cynthia Mancini, Liability-Auto-Property Claims Manager
Brenda Gillis, Sr. Property Claim Representative
All Workers' Compensation claims should be reported online at NetClaims.net. (If you are not registered to report online, claims may still be reported at 1-800-OK CIRMA.)