FM Alert: How To Prepare Your Facility For Inclement Weather

No matter their location, all facilities are vulnerable to a wide variety of weather-related threats: From frigid temperatures, torrential rain, and flooding, to significant snowfall, ice, or high winds that can lead to power outages, frozen or flooded equipment and facilities, and the threat of hazardous or combustible gas leaks.

inclement weather
(Credit: Hemera Technologies)

With the possibility of another blizzard or severe storm always looming, Apollo Safety, providers of gas detection products and services for hospitals, universities, government operations, and other organizations throughout New England, offers the following safety recommendations to thoroughly prepare your facility for inclement weather:

  • Non-essential and combustible gas delivery systems should be shut down at the source and properly purged to avoid any release of a hazard should damage occur in the facility.
  • All storage cylinders, containers, and vessels should be secured as per regulations.
  • Should your facility’s gas detection system show alarm activity, including “Power Outage” or “Power Interruption” alarms, do not assume ANY alarm is false. Always follow your company emergency response policy.

Note that all federal, state, local and a facility’s own regulations and requirements supersede these general recommendations.

“Gas detection systems are just as necessary as fire alarm systems. Gas detection systems alarm at the first sign of trouble,” explained John V. Carvalho III, Apollo Safety’s president, who has been consulting with fire chiefs and building owners on gas detection and safety for more than two decades. “Toxic levels of commonly encountered gases such as hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide, nitric oxide, and nitrogen dioxide can harm workers even in low doses and can cause both short-term and long-term damage. Additionally, combustible gases such as methane, pentane, and hydrogen are serious hazards and when present in sufficient quantities, pose the threat of fire or explosion.

“It’s not enough just to have the gas/toxic leak detection systems in place,” Carvalho continued. “It is imperative that these detection systems are maintained on a regular basis. Failing to properly maintain these systems will result in false alarms, inaccurate readings, or even worse, no alarms.”

The only way to know if a gas detection system is working is to test it with the appropriate gases. Apollo Safety recommends that a gas detection expert should inspect, calibrate, and test a system on a regular schedule. By not having a routine maintenance system in place, the health and safety of everyone is at risk if the facility’s gas detection equipment is not functioning properly.