Commercial Winter Storm Preparation Checklist


Canada’s winters bring sudden, unpredictable weather. Cold temperatures, blizzards, sleet, and freezing rain can result in costly property damage. It’s important to be aware of the danger zones and where damage is most likely to occur. Advanced planning and preparation can mitigate property loss before winter causes havoc.

Winter Preparedness Checklist for Buildings

BUILDING ACCESS – Remove the snow/ice from driveways and building doorways to ensure safe access to your premises.

PIPES AND METERS – Pipes and meters can freeze when in unheated areas. Ensure there is proper insulation in the surrounding area and/or a local heat source is operative. Turn off water to outside hose bibs, remove hoses and drain the pipes.

ROOFS – Snow and rain that collect on roofs can cause a leak or compromise a building’s structural integrity if the accumulated weight becomes too great. Remove snow from roofs and drains regularly. Clean gutters and roof drains to prevent blockages which can result in water penetration into facilities.

SEAL OPENINGS – Ensure the building envelope doesn’t have significant air leaks or areas of infiltration. Seal all openings where cold air can enter with caulking and insulation to reduce exposure of cold air to plumbing lines and prevent energy loss.

UNOCCUPIED SPACES – Due to COVID-19 and reduced use of commercial spaces, it is especially important to establish a routine for inspecting unoccupied space. Check for variances in temperature and leaks in plumbing. Look for early signs of corrosion in pipes which could expose a potential problem.

GENERATORS, BOILERS, AND HEATING/HVAC EQUIPMENT – Contact your preferred service provider to ensure that regular maintenance is performed to keep these critical pieces of equipment working optimally. Failures in vital equipment pieces like these can lead to flood damage or could impact critical infrastructure.

FIRE HYDRANTS – Coordinate with your local fire department to mark hydrants above the snow line near your business for ease in locating and clearing after a heavy storm. Hydrants need to be accessible should you need assistance from the fire department during an emergency.

With the high risk and costs of natural disasters and water episodes in facilities, it is becoming standard practice for building management operators to incorporate a mitigation/restoration component into their overall Emergency Response Management Plan. Emergency mitigation saves time and money – both for the insurer and their clients, and it helps keep the public safe.


Get FIRST ONSITE’s Priority Response Emergency Plan (PREP) for commercial properties and be prepared in case of the worst. Contact us today at 877.778.6731 or email to set-up your emergency plan assessment before the next winter storm.

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