Safety First

Brace yourselves! The Farmers’ Almanac’s 2019-20 winter forecast expects Minnesota and surrounding states to get a “parade of snowstorms” and below-average temperatures—a polar-coaster many of us would rather not ride.

Does this forecast sound familiar? Let’s take a not-so-fond look back at the winter of 2018-19:

  • Snow piled up to 77 inches in the Twin Cities
  • The Twin Cities’ coldest wind chill reading of -55 on January 30th was the coldest reading since January 19, 1985
  • Frozen pipes burst in a Minneapolis skyway system, apartment and office building — and too-many-to-count home and businesses throughout the Twin Cities
  • White Bear Lake and Detroit Lakes water towers overflowed
  • Schools throughout the state cancelled classes for 10 days and more due to the extreme cold and snowy weathe.

Let’s hope the Farmers’ Almanac is wrong; it has been before. Yet we need to be prepared to avoid costly problems and prevent major issues and emergencies that can hurt your business and its people. If your fire and security systems are in A+ shape you can focus on the great things about winter—sledding, skiing, a White Christmas, the St. Paul Winter Carnival. Yet this change of seasons can cause problems in heating and fire systems, so autumn is a good time to prepare to ensure a stress-free winter.

Things to Consider to Prep for Winter’s Assault

  • Are you draining all your drum drips on dry sprinklers weekly?
  • Check your annual inspections to make sure they are on schedule.
    • Note: If you have a dry system, make sure it’s scheduled before extremely cold weather.
  • Check the outside of your building for cracks, leaks, crevices—anything where cold wind can enter and freeze your pipes.
  • Outside temperatures 20 degrees and lower can cause pipes to freeze. Watch for the first signs of freezing pipes:
    • Trickling, slow running water or no water coming out of the faucet
    • Frost on the pipes
    • Strange smells from the faucet or drain
  • Have you recently checked your building’s heating system? Freezing can happen when heat systems fail or are operating below capacity.
  • Are valves properly identified so when snow falls, the valves can be seen when the snowbanks get high? During last year’s Polar Vortex, a client’s Post Indicator Valve (PIV) that was covered with snow broke when it was hit by a snowplow.
  • Outside exhaust vents for water heaters, dryers, furnaces and fireplaces should be kept clear of snow and ice to prevent the buildup of carbon monoxide.
  • Make sure your staff is trained in what to do if fire and/or security systems get tripped accidentally when time is of the essence. If you have a new property manager, we can work with them too.

Brothers Fire & Security can make sure all your fire and security systems are good to go to withstand a brutal Minnesota winter. Don’t hesitate to call us and schedule a time to evaluate your plans so you’ll be ready when Ol’ Man Winter blows in.

About Brothers Fire & Security

As one of the premier providers of fire and security solutions in the Upper Midwest, Brothers Fire & Security strives to build long-term, value-added relationships. We work with business owners and property management companies, as well as all types of public institutions to solve fire and security needs. By taking advantage of our integrated bundled services, many of our clients find that they can save 25-30% on their safety services, annual inspections and more. From a single location to franchises throughout the region and the country, our integrated approach saves our clients valuable time, money and stress. We provide fire protection systems, security systems, fire sprinkler systems, fire alarm systems, 24-7 monitoring, fire extinguishers, card access and kitchen hoods.