Warm fires, cozy sweaters, fast-approaching holidays, and delicious baked treats may all be things that come to mind when you think of the Winter season! However, for apartment complex Managers and Property Owners alike, the change to chillier weather can also bring about some seasonal issues that can prove catastrophic if not adequately prepared for. While heavy snowfall and severe Winter storms may top the list, items such as slip and fall hazards and frozen pipes need to be taken just as seriously.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average hospital cost of a slip and fall accident is more than $30,000. (Kutner, 2016). The Snow and Ice Management Association goes on to state that snow-related slip and fall accidents can cost between $33,000 and $48,000 on average (Melchior, 2016). Labor for repairing or thawing a frozen pipe can easily amount to a few hundred dollars with totals reaching as much as $15,000 when/if damages are severe enough to result in the need for a new plumbing system (Fixr.com, 2020).
PropertyWare.com has provided the following tips to help all operators prepare communities for Winter weather which will hopefully help avoid these types of issues all together (PropertyWare.com, 2020):
- Prepare for Snow & Ice Removal – It is CRITICAL to regularly check weather forecasts during winter months to appropriately prepare for any imminent/severe snowfall.
- Are you and your Maintenance Team appropriately equipped with the necessary tools for shoveling/scrapping sidewalks?
- Has your snow removal vendor been contacted in advance to ensure your community is on schedule for service as early in the morning as possible?
- APPROPRIATELY Apply Ice-Melt – Ice-melt is a must-have during Winter and is one of the easiest ways to try and prevent slip and fall accidents
- Biggest Mistake, NOT USING IT! Applying ice-melt regardless of whether the property has been cleared/shoveled allows for ice that exists underneath the snow to be rendered obsolete.
- Second Biggest Mistake, USING TOO MUCH! Overusing ice melt can lead to the product being unnecessarily tracked into various facilities which can also result in slip and fall accidents. Ice-melt can also burn vegetation beneath or around where the product is used.
- Watch Your Pipes – Outdoor pipes/sprinkler systems should have the water shut-off and be completed drained prior to the first freeze of the season.
- Vacant units should be set to 55F with all faucets left dripping to avoid any build-up.
- Tenants should be encouraged to leave cabinets with piping underneath (kitchen sink, bathroom vanity, etc.) open to allow for improved airflow.
Now is the right time to prepare for the possibility of severe Winter weather. DO NOT WAIT! Let us keep the well-being of our residents, staff, families, and onsite contractors at the forefront of our minds and have a safe holiday season!
“11 Ways to Get Your Rental Properties Ready for Winter.” www.PropertyWare.com, PropertyWare, www.propertyware.com/blog/11-ways-to-get-your-rental-properties-ready-for-winter/
“2020 Burst Pipe Repair Cost .” www.fixr.com, FIXr.com, www.fixr.com/costs/burst-pipe-repair
Kutner, Adam S. “10 Facts & Statistics About Slip & Fall Accidents.” www.askadamskutner.com, Adam S. Kutner – Attorney At Law, www.askadamskutner.com/slip-and-fall/10-facts-statistics-slip-fall- accidents/
Melchior, George. “Snow Bias.” www.sima.org, Snow & Ice Management Association, 29 Apr. 2016, www.sima.org/news2/2016/04/29/snow-bias