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What to do Before a Winter Weather Event

Numerous businesses can’t afford to lose revenue over winter, making it crucial to take proactive measures to minimize business disruption. Ideally, most businesses should consider temporary closures during severe winter events. However, certain businesses may need to remain operational, and some employees could find themselves stranded.

Last-Minute Actions

When severe winter weather is forecast, complete these last-minute actions, if time allows, to keep employees safe and your facility prepared.

Winter Ready Business Checklist

A checklist to make last minute prep before severe winter weather hits and to recover quickly after the event.


1. Monitor the weather and activate your plan

  • Find a reliable source for severe weather information. Follow the National Weather Service (NWS) Weather Prediction Center (WPC) on Facebook or X, and your local NWS office. Tune in to local news often when winter weather is forecast.
  • Enable wireless emergency alerts on your cell phone. What to listen for:
    • Winter Storm Warning, Blizzard Warning, Wind Chill Temperature
    • A WATCH means be prepared.
    • A WARNING means take action.
  • Activate your winter plan. Communicate the emergency preparedness plan to all employees in advance of severe weather.
rainy weather. weather forecast for autumn. female hand holds a mobile phone and looks at the weather forecast for the day on a park with a trees background


2) Prevent pipes from freezing

  • Set the building’s internal thermostat to a minimum of 55°F (12.8°C).
  • For small commercial properties
    • Open cabinet doors where piping is present, especially when pipes are adjacent to an exterior wall.
    • Let all faucets drip during extreme cold weather.
A mature handsome caucasian man entrepreneur using a multifunctional wall-mounted terminal panel with a blank white screen mock-up to adjust illumination level in the office and indoor air temperature

3) Turn on self-regulating roof heating cables

  • If you have an ice dam prevention system, turn it on before the snow begins to fall.
Roofing heating cable for ice and snow melting. A close-up on a roofing deicing system, ice-melting cable installed above the rain gutter on an asphalt shingled roof.

4) Confirm services with pre-scheduled contractors

  • Confirm availability of the snow removal service.
  • Confirm delivery of rented portable generator.
  • Arrange for alternate security if the alarm system loses power while the building cannot be occupied.
close up employee man hand point to press button number on telephone office desk for contact customer or colleagues in company .hotline employee concept

5) Ensure you have plenty of supplies onsite, such as...

  • Fuel for generators or snowblowers.
  • Snow removal equipment.
  • De-icing products for walkways and parking lots.
  • Blankets, in case employees get stranded.
The ramp is covered with the first snow installed for the movement of people with disabilities at any time of the year.


6) Continue to monitor conditions and stay connected

  • Update status of operations.
    • Employees: Emergency hotlines/email/intranet
    • Customers: Website/social media/phone calls
  • Designate times for key staff members to dial into or join online meetings for situation overviews.
People Meeting Connection Social Networking Communication Concept

Seasonal Business Prep

These steps can help you to prepare your business before the winter season, no matter where you’re located.

Building Upgrades

We can’t stop the harsh winter weather, but we can prepare and strengthen our structures to defend against it.  

Before Winter Event

When defensible space is thoughtfully created and well-maintained, it will increase the likelihood your building will survive a wildfire.

After Winter Event

Follow these steps to recover quickly and reopen your business.