With recent severe storm in Texas and other parts of the country, many communities experienced the dreaded pipe bursts that can occur with pipes and / or fire sprinkler lines freezing and thawing.
Although after the fact now, here are some lessons learned from communities around the country:
- If your community experienced frozen pipes due to a building design flaw, develop and pursue precautions and an action plan for the next artic cold front. Look for ways to prevent the frozen pipes if possible.
- Heed the weather forecast. The weather folks are usually close with their forecasted temps.
- Revisit your vacant apartments during the course of the cold snap; looking for open windows and heaters that may have failed.
- Communicating with your residents is smart. Put out freeze warning notices and signs to remind residents to let faucets drip, keep their heat on, etc. (also email these if possible, as some residents may be out of town)
- Learn how to turn off your fire sprinklers both dry and wet. Be sure to check with your local fire department to ensure it is ok if you turn it off – keep in mind fire-watch will likely be required until the system is restored, but a short period of having the system off could save you from the flooding.
- Know where your water shutoffs are and map the locations. This map should be posted in the leasing office and shop maintenance. All community team members should be trained on how to operate the shutoffs.
- Have chucks and keys ready for buried water shutoff valves.
- Confirm all fire riser room doors are closed, locked, and have heaters that work during prior to the cold snap.
- Confirm that all building corridor heaters are working, and the doors are self-closing.
- Make sure pool pumps are circulating and pool mechanical rooms / boiler rooms are heated.
With severe weather and storms always a possibility, it is wise to prepare as much as possible for future events.
Local maintenance teams, risk management teams, and company emergency policies are also a great resource for preparing your building for weather related emergencies.