As temperatures drop and snow and ice are on the horizon, municipalities need to be concerned about protecting their buildings and facilities through harsh winter conditions.

MIIA’s Risk Management team has decades of experience helping members avoid costly weather-related losses each year. The following are some key MIIA Risk Management recommendations for the winter:
• Keep thermostats set to 60 degrees or higher.
• Use thermographic imaging cameras to identify areas of inadequate insulation, cold spots, and other causes of pipe vulnerability.
• Consider adding antifreeze to heating lines (natural/biodegradable antifreeze solutions are available).
• Check univents to ensure that outside dampers are fully closed.
• Keep heaters and vents clear to allow for greater circulation of warm air.
• Set circulator pumps to run continuously.
• Consider installing low-temperature sensors/alarms for immediate alerts of potential freezing.
• Have someone inspect buildings daily and during building closures for potential problems including freeze-ups and vandalism.
• Ensure that pipes and walls are insulated.
• Visually inspect flat roof surfaces and remove as much snow as possible. Take precautions not to damage the roof surface, especially rubber membrane roof surfaces.
• Inspect and clear all drains to allow for proper run-off of water, which will lessen the weight of the snow load.
• Check inside buildings for any indication of roof weakness (settling of ceilings, broken structural elements, leaks, etc.).
• If you suspect a problem, contact your building inspector for assistance.

Written by Stephen Batchelder, MIIA Vice President of Claims Operations and Risk Management