The deep freeze of winter will fall on New York from January through March, and though the city hasn't had the most severe winters in recent years, weather has a way of tricking us into complacency and hitting hard when we let our guards down. Because of weather's unpredictability during winter, precautions need to be taken to protect those who live in the city. Just one slip-and-fall or other weather-related accident might result in a costly lawsuit that could have been prevented.
Keeping in mind the needs of your building—the physical makeup of its exterior and the spaces around it, its entrances and common areas—is essential when planning for winter's harsh conditions. That planning should begin months before the first snowflakes fall. For some superintendents, that planning is a year-round pursuit.
Essential Preparations for Safety
Many property managers prepare for the winter far in advance. Doing some of their pre-winter tasks well ahead of time helps them to fix some potential problems that could arise in the midst of a snowstorm, such as a boiler kicking off on the coldest night of the year. The best way to avoid such problems is to make sure that preventative maintenance is done on the building's systems, experts say.
"It's imperative that during the summer, all buildings have their staff check their sidewalks for cracks, holes and separations that could cause tripping," says Steven Gold, president of Manhattan-based Hudson View Associates. Such cracks should be repaired before winter, he adds.
Partly because it is cheaper to buy new equipment in the summer but also because it just makes sense, Gold advises supers to use the warm months of the year to fix or replace snow removal equipment such as snow blowers, icebreakers, salt spreaders and shovels. Buildings with unionized workers may also need new coats, hats and gloves for staff of those buildings, as required by union rules. Hudson View Associates managers buy calcium chloride in August, because it's easier to stock up then since prices for the snow-melter are cheaper at that time of year.