As you know, we are the largest snow and winter storm service provider in the NW Oregon and SW Washington area. With that, we have been working very diligently the past month to prepare for the potential of winter weather. We finally deployed over this weekend and overnight last night to prepare our customers properties for the potential of black ice and slippery conditions. We had been monitoring forecasts over the past 2 weeks leading up as the forecasts have changed day to day. The winter precipitation over the past 2 days turned out to be variable.  Throughout the area snow and ice conditions did occur but ended up being spotty.

Hence the challenge of providing this service.  We monitor every available forecast from the National Weather Service, Weather Underground , AccuWeather, local TV stations, and even a private weather forecasting service ERF Weather Forecasts.   Although they do not always agree on the forecast, we monitor all and react to any potential forecast of conditions that might generate snow and/or ice conditions.  

Following these forecasts of potential icy weather, we sent emails out to all clients who had signed up for our service, outlining our plan last Wednesday and again Saturday. We will do this prior to each forecasted storm to allow clients to weigh in. We will deploy when winter weather is forecasted.  Since forecasts are not 100% accurate, we may serve sites when the winter weather does not actually come to pass.

As said above, we did deploy on all sites this weekend, unless specifically told to hold off.  We applied parking lot pre-treatment deicer as well as sidewalk ice melt. Some sites did freeze up while others did not. Ironically, one customer told us to hold off on treatment and their site froze up which resulted in a slip and fall incident this morning. Considering this potential, we will deploy with forecast of winter weather unless a client tells us not to.  
A new part of our service this year will be an expansion of our signage that we will provide on your properties which we began implementing last year.  We have developed signs that we will be placing at the parking lot entryways of your properties as pictured above. These are intended to warn your employees, tenants, and patrons to heed caution during winter weather or below freezing conditions.  This has occured on all suburban properties as we have determined that for many downtown properties this is not as feasible or applicable thus the signage will not occur unless there is a parking lot entry to your property. As we have always believed during winter storm events, hazardous conditions should be assumed but with many efforts to reduce liability, we feel the signage is a way to put employees, tenants, and patrons on notice.  Winter weather and hazardous conditions exist, regardless of the status of service provided.

Also, listed below is a standard email that we recommend that you send to employees and tenants when a winter storm is predicted.  This gives them specific instructions on recommendations for them to enter and move throughout your property, with increased caution, due to the hazardous conditions.  Regardless of where we are in providing our service, it is impossible to produce hazard free conditions during and after a winter storm when snow and/or ice exists. This is why we recommend and will help you provide warnings to your employees and tenants so as to give them appropriate warning and reduce your liability with notice to them.
Below is the email we recommend you send to your employees and tenants prior to winter weather conditions:

RE: Warning, Winter Weather is Predicted!

Winter weather is predicted in our area in the coming days and we want to make every effort to reduce the risk to employees and tenants during sub-freezing weather. To do this, we contract with a vendor to work to plow and sand parking lots, and shovel and deice sidewalks to reduce the hazardous conditions.  However, during winter weather, hazardous conditions are impossible to completely eliminate regardless of our diligence to prevent them.  Please use extreme caution when entering and exiting the parking lots, and use even greater care when moving from your car to the building. 

Personal Protection Guidelines During Winter Weather and Sub Freezing Temperatures:
  • Remember that our contracted service is to treat parking lots to improve vehicle safety. Snow and ice will likely exist in parking lots even when sidewalks have been cleared and deiced.
  • Be aware that during sub freezing weather, thawing and refreezing can occur following snow and ice clearing. Assume ice exists and take caution if temperatures are below freezing.
  • Don't assume what appears to be cleared is slip free.  Black ice can form after snow is cleared and may even be hard to see, making it even more dangerous. Wear appropriate footwear - no high heels or smooth-soled shoes.
  • Be aware of changes in walking surfaces. Many falls are caused when people don't realize they're leaving non-slippery surfaces for slippery ones.
  • Step down and not out when getting out of a vehicle. Swing both legs out. Place both feet on the ground and use hands for support.
  • Focus on your footing. Watch where you walk. Concentrate on getting from point A to point B safely.
  • Free up your hands. Use a carrying case with a shoulder strap for laptops and files.
  • Don't use your cell phone while walking from the parking lot or on stairs.
  • Use handrails on stairways and don't rush.
  • Walk like a penguin. Use short, slow steps.
  • Step down off curbs, not out. Landing on your heel first instead of flat footed can cause a fall.
  • Use authorized paths. If it's not clear of snow, don't use it. No shortcuts.
  • Report unsafe conditions to a supervisor or maintenance person immediately.
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