With winter weather in full swing in many regions, those facility managers with an effective approach to handling snow and ice on their properties are surely glad they planned ahead. In the following article, Rodney Anderson, founder and CEO of Snow Movers and a 27-year industry veteran, offers tips for creating such a program and for hiring a service provider.
Snow and Ice Management Tips for Facilities
To prepare your facility for winter weather, it is essential to think about a snow and ice management plan. Depending on the size of your property, and the amount of people who go in and out, you should consider hiring a company for snow services. Parking areas, sidewalks, and frequently used areas have to be well prepared for residents, employees, contractors, or visitors to avoid accidents and injuries. When thinking about your snow and ice management plan, or hiring a snow removal company, you should take the following tips into consideration:
Hire a snow service provider: Finding an appropriate snow plan involves taking a closer gander at your facility. Is there enough internal staff to do snow services like shoveling and de-icing or should you save time and money by hiring a contractor? When does the work have to be finished? You should clean the areas before or after contractors, employees, or residents arrive and leave the property. Is there a chance to close some areas that don’t have to be cleared? How often is de-icing needed and does the reservoir last for the winter? In case of heavy snowfall, will piles need to be managed on site with a loader or a bobcat? All of these aspects need to be taken into consideration.
Distinguish Company Attributes: After deciding to hire a service provider, you should look for references in close proximity to your facility and solicit quotations to find the best offer. Ask if they belong to an association (e.g. Snow & Ice Management Association) or if they are certified snow professionals. The fact that they are part of an association is an advantage and allows them to gain from the combined knowledge of the industry. Many landscaping companies provide snow services as well, but compare their services with those of primarily specialized snow service companies. Do they have enough experience and knowledge to prepare your property?
Secure good preparation: During the first meeting, make sure that you communicate well to avoid misunderstandings that could result in unexpected difficulties. Your team should also provide a single point of contact, specific to your geographic region, who can respond immediately to changing weather patterns and dispatch resources quickly. Ask if your snow service company uses an advanced weather monitoring service. These special monitoring programs allow snow and ice managers to reduce the probability of being surprised by a sudden snow storm or freezing rain.
Promote environmental integrity: An important fact to consider when preparing your property, or hiring a snow and ice management company, are environmentally friendly melting and de-icing methods. By working together with an expert, you can minimize the use of chlorides and chemical runoffs. Time, quality, and quantity are playing a very important role. Speak with your team about strategically placing snow piles that collect road contaminants like oil, grease, and heavy metals from vehicles. This helps prevent them from damaging masonry, destroying plants, and discharging into sewer systems that end up in rivers and streams.
Prepare an action plan: The first meeting with your assigned snow and ice manager should be before it starts snowing. Discuss what zones need to be prepared, where you have to pay more attention when developing your snow and ice management plan, what kind of machinery will be appropriate to your operations, and with how many other customers it is shared. Participate when the site map of your property is made and avoid mistakes in essential operations. This plan should include property boundaries and areas where snow piles should be placed. Also label walkways and other sensitive areas such as trash dumpsters, fire hydrants, storm drains, handicap parking, and sidewalk ramps. As soon as snow melts, consider the effects of water runoff. Could flooding occur? Keep in mind the runoff will thaw and piles should be placed at the bottom of hills and inclines.
Develop a site map: Primarily, a site map is important for the service provider to survey your property and get all the work done most efficiently and on time. Make sure to get and provide all necessary contact information. Additionally, this map can help you to survey the work of your snow and ice manager. It will help prepare a winter plan and inform residents, employees, contractors, and visitors who might be concerned about having cleared streets and parking their cars. Ask your snow service provider how notification of operations will be communicated during freezing rain or blizzards and discuss what will be the contingency plan in these situations.
Winter weather can be tough and full of unexpected incidents. Following these tips and choosing the adequate snow service provider, your facility is well prepared to tackle winter weather and its consequences.
About Snow Movers
Snow Movers is a specialized provider of snow and ice management services to commercial clients in the Washington, DC/Baltimore region. For more information, call (410) 421-9557, or e-mail [email protected]