The continued spread of COVID-19 has forced communities, businesses and governments to adjust to an ever-changing reality. These are certainly unprecedented times. Governments are closing borders and businesses have had to make some very difficult decisions on their operations and whether to stay open and how that would look or close. If your municipality has made the decision to close certain facilities for the foreseeable future, there are certain precautions that you should take to ensure the safety of your building(s).
Contact Your Insurance Advisor
Should you be forced to close your building either by provincial or federal advisory or otherwise, leaving your building vacant, it is important that you contact your insurance advisor to let them know of the situation. Our advisors will work with you to look over your policy and ensure that any extra requirements are taken.
Check Fire Suppression Systems
It is important that your fire suppression systems are still operational during the duration of your building’s temporary shut down. Ensure that all fire panels, sprinkler systems and alarms are operational. The risk of arson increases when buildings are vacant so ensure that all combustible materials are removed from the area around your building(s).
Prevent Water Damage
If the domestic water and sprinkler system have separate valves then the domestic water valve should be closed. All taps should be opened to drain as much water out of the lines as possible. This will prevent the possibility of the lines developing a leak and causing extensive water damage to your building. It is also important to ensure that the temperature in vacant rooms doesn’t fall below 16 degrees as water pipes may freeze and burst, resulting in significant property damage.
Adjust Your Electrical Use
Maintain electrical to your building if there are any appliances such as fridges, freezers, coolers, etc. that require uninterrupted power. If electrical is not required, switching the power off at the main breaker will help to prevent the possibility of an electrical short circuit causing a fire.
Secure Stock and Your Building
Ensure that any stock or other valuables are locked up and stored securely. Remove all cash from the premises if possible. Consider installing a security system if one is currently not installed. Security systems should be connected to a 24-hour central monitoring station to increase notification and police response times.
Inspect Your Building Regularly
If a building has been closed or is vacant a check on the building should be completed every 48 hours. When conducting inspections it is important to check every room to ensure that there are no water leaks or broken pipes. Every room must be inspected and logged with date, time and signature from the individual conducting the inspection.
We are currently suspending all Risk Management Surveys at this time, however our Risk Management staff are still available to answer any questions you may have. If you have questions about how to properly secure your building during a temporary shutdown or need advice on any other risk management issue, please call our office at 1-800-665-8990.
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