Severe weather? There's an SOP for that too!

Surviving severe winter weather can be as hard on your building as it is on you. Here is our guide to making sure your buildings are totally prepared for winter weather.

Tennessee, like the rest of the nation, has their share of severe weather.  Some events, like high winds, may happen with little or no warning. Little that can be done to prevent such damage. Extreme cold is different as facility managers typically have many days notice of the impending extreme temperatures.  Much can be done to prevent or at least prepare for the ravages placed on buildings by extreme cold.Prudent facility managers have a plan in place to ensure that all areas of a building or campus are properly prepared for extreme cold. The larger the campus, the more complex the preparation. This complexity is exactly the reason facility managers need a detailed plan, laid out well in advance. Many in the industry call this type of planning a Standard Operating Procedure or SOP.  Established, written, SOP’s help reduce costly errors, document institutional history, and improve communication between existing staff and future staff facing the same situation.These are elements that should be included in all SOP’s

  • Date the SOP was written or last revised
  • List of safety considerations
  • List of tools and skills necessary to accomplish the task(s)
  • Step by step explanation of tasks along with photos when helpful.
  • Storage of the completed SOP in a manner that allows easy access by numerous individuals

When developing an SOP specific for extreme cold it is important to think about your entire campus and all the systems involved.  For example, the irrigation backflow on the distant practice field, the wet fire suppression system in the concession stand on the backside of the football field or the winterization of vehicles.  One extremely cold night isn’t the only problem, but rather, several days in a row with temperatures barely reaching freezing will also have a serious impact on building operations.

Every climate, campus, and operation is different and will, therefore, result in vastly different extreme cold SOP’s.  However, here are some systems to consider.

  • Plumbing on exterior walls
  • Plumbing in backflows and riser rooms
  • Hose bibs
  • Irrigation control boxes and lines
  • Exterior water coolers winterized
  • Heat tape applications
  • Vehicles winterized and batteries plugged in
  • Dry fire suppression systems drained of condensation at all points
  • Wet fire suppression systems should be monitored for freezing, especially in entryways and portico’s
  • Weather seals functioning around all doors.

Standard operating procedures do not have to be complicated but they are essential if you want to create efficient and effective methods to reduce risks in at your campus, and ensure all tasks are communicated properly and methods historically documented.

About SFM

Since 1998, the mission of SFM is to be the preeminent model of facility management and maintenance for schools, churches, and other non-profits. The SFM model sets us apart from other facility management companies. SFM has developed a unique and systematic approach to managing in-house and outsource services.

The strength of SFM is formed from the diversity of skills, collective knowledge, and the shared network of our facility management team. All members of our team are constantly striving to meet the unique needs of our customers. This blog offers an opportunity to share some of the collective conversations and learning experiences taking place every day at SFM.