Do your facilities have a snow and ice escalation plan? Creating a strategy for different storm levels that cover all the bases will provide peace of mind for everyone involved: facility managers will know their next steps and service providers will understand what is expected of them. However, creating a strategy takes planning along with trial and error.

We understand managing multiple facilities during snow and ice season is not as simple as it sounds. Therefore, we provided a list of suggested actions that can benefit facilities during five threat levels of snow accumulation:

1. Low Threat Level

No snow or ice is in the forecast for the next 24 hours.

Facility Manager Responsibilities: When there is no threat of snow or ice in the forecast, it would be strategic to take this time to reflect on past services and prepare for the future. Taking this time to analyze crucial aspects of your snow and ice management plan, such as the performance of service providers during recent snow escalations, can help confirm quality. If the quality of service is not up to par, use this time to give direction to the service providers and make adjustments for future services.

Service Providers Responsibilities: Service providers can use this time to reorganize and restock their resources in preparation for future events.

2. Guarded Threat Level

Less than one inch of snow and light ice accumulation.

Facility Manager Responsibilities: As snow and ice start to accumulate, make sure facilities with the highest traffic or most sales receive the optimal amount of service. Visit stores and check in with store managers’ ratings to stay aware of your facilities’ needs during a snow event. Continually check the weather forecast during this time to ensure all facilities that are affected will receive the proper preventative services.

Service Provider Responsibilities: At this time, service providers should be providing preventative maintenance strategies like applying salt during the beginning of the storm. Taking action in advance can prevent ice from bonding and forming.

3. Elevated Threat Level

Snowfall and/or freezing precipitation is currently occurring and could last for the next 12-36 hours but at a slow and manageable accumulation rate. At this threat level, accumulation is between two and six inches.

Facility Manager Responsibilities: Similar to the guarded level, continue to stay updated on the frequency of services at facilities and keep communication open with service providers. Take action and inform service providers if one location was skipped or received heavier snow accumulation than another location.

Service Provider Responsibilities: Service providers should move forward and begin performing their contracted services at the locations within their routes. These services can include de-icing, plowing and shoveling for the sidewalks, parking lots and loading docks. Return trips may be necessary at this time if snow occurs through the night.

4. High Threat Level

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will issue a warning for a moderate amount of snow or ice during a certain amount of time. At this threat level, seven or more inches of accumulation is predicted to fall in a 12-hour window, or nine or more inches of accumulation is forecasted in a 24-hour window.

Facility Manager Responsibilities: When a high threat level storm approaches, it would be beneficial to have additional backup service providers that are on-call. Due to the growing accumulation of snow, driving conditions are negatively affected, which makes it harder for contractors to get to and from locations. During high threat levels, stay in contact with all affected locations and ensure they receive services to stay safe and accessible for consumers.

Service Provider Responsibilities: At this threat level, service providers should perform multiple plowing and deicing services per location to keep up with the growing accumulation of snow and ice. Additional front-end loaders and dump trucks should be used for the post-storm stacking and hauling services.

5. Severe Threat Level

Blizzard-like conditions with a significant amount of snow and ice accumulation that spans over multiple states and numerous days. Road closures may occur and two or more inches of snow is predicted within one hour.

Facility Manager Responsibilities: Depending on the industry, it may be an option to close locations to avoid risks during blizzard-like conditions. For example, restaurants, movie theaters or vitamin shops that don’t receive a lot of foot traffic might be better off closing during a storm. However, it is important to continue scheduling overnight services as the snow causes road closures or a potential state of emergency. If there was a time to call for backup service providers, now is that time.

Service Provider Responsibilities: Service providers should perform snow removal services to the best of their ability despite traffic delays and road closures. More locations receive service during intense weather when service providers stick to clearing driving lanes, egresses, delivery areas, handicap parking spots and sidewalks. Deploying larger trucks, bobcats and front-end loaders can help plow through heavy snow accumulation and unappealing parking lots.

We understand that creating an effective snow and ice removal plan for multiple threat levels can lead to a successful winter. Check out our blog, 4 Questions to See if You’re Setting Your Business Up For a Bleak Winter, if you are interested in avoiding unexpected costs and unfit services during snow and ice season, as well.

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