Vol. 4, 2016
2016 Safety 1st nominations are now open!
Be sure to nominate your camp for Markel’s Safety 1st recognition before the November 23 deadline. Markel’s Safety 1st program recognizes camps that have shown an outstanding commitment to safety.
For more information and to nominate, please go to markelcampinsurance.com.
According to AccuWeather long-range forecasters, the 2016-2017 winter season promises to be an interesting one.
For the Southeast: Winter will slowly creep into the Southeast this season, as very mild air hangs on throughout the month of December. However, the new year will usher in a pattern change as a sudden burst of cold air penetrates the region. Cold air will once again retreat following January and the threat is predicted to shift to severe weather.
For the Northeast: Frequent storms across the northeastern U.S. this winter may lead to an above-normal season for snowfall.
"I think the Northeast is going to see more than just a few, maybe several, systems in the course of the season," AccuWeather Long-Range Forecaster Paul Pastelok said. Unlike last season, in which most of winter's snowfall came from a few heavy-hitting storms, this winter will last into the early or middle part of spring and will feature frequent snow events.
Overall, it's predicted that the region will total a below-normal number of subzero days, though the temperature will average 3-5 degrees Fahrenheit lower than last year.
For the Northern Plains and Midwest: Developing snowpack in early December may contribute to even colder weather. Temperatures will plummet as the season goes on; averaging 6 to 9 degrees lower overall than last winter.
"...There are going to be some nights, especially if there's snow cover in the heart of winter, that could get down to 20 or 30 below, especially in parts of Minnesota like International Falls and Duluth and parts of the Dakotas," Pastelok said.
Cold air will also remain entrenched across the Midwest after arriving in late November. Coupled with warmer waters over the Great Lakes, an early start to lake-effect season is in store.
For the Southern Plains and Gulf Coast: Fall-like weather will linger into the winter season across the southern Plains and Gulf Coast, but a change will loom on the horizon.
Though the milder weather will retreat, dryness will stick around, becoming a major theme of the season.
Risk management strategies that provide the greatest impact during adverse weather conditions involve three primary areas: protection of property, preventing slip-and-fall accidents, and safe vehicle operation.
Strategy #1: Protect property
Conduct pre-storm inspections of facilities and respond quickly after a storm. The time spent now planning your winterization and inspecting your facilities and equipment can save you a lot of time and expense later.
Take actions now to protect your facilities from winter damage due to possible heavy snow accumulations. Consider reinforcing cabin rafters with 2”x4” studs anchored to a 5- or 6- foot long 2”x8” to distribute the weight to the floor. Clearing out dead trees around cabins and those overhanging roof areas before a storm is also a good practice. In the event of a winter storm, it is important for maintenance personnel to conduct facility inspections as soon as practicable. Ask them to identify priorities for repairs, which may help prevent additional damage.
If your facility is closed during the winter, consider keeping the heat on. Keep pipes from freezing underneath sinks by opening cabinet doors, which allows warmer room air to circulate around the pipes. Your heating expenses are far less costly than having to close a critical building to repair water damage due to freezing pipes.
Other alternatives include:
Strategy #2: Prevent slip-and-fall accidents
Slip-and-fall accidents often increase as the wintry weather arrives. You can reduce the potential of one occurring at your facility by taking simple precautions ahead of time.
Strategy #3: Prepare vehicles for winter weather
Having a well-maintained vehicle supports an effective vehicle safety program. Many auto accidents are the direct result of poorly maintained vehicles. Before inclement weather arrives, carefully inspect your vehicles to identify and correct maintenance issues that may contribute to an accident.
It is strongly recommended that any inspection be completed by a certified professional mechanic. AAA provides the following items to check in order to determine your vehicle’s fall and winter maintenance needs. Depending on what you find, you may need a trained mechanic to follow up and correct defects.
Lastly, when inclement weather occurs, remind drivers to operate the vehicle with safety in mind. Driving under the posted speed-limit, remaining aware of road conditions, and being prepared to respond to a skid are well planned precautions.
Learn more about operating a vehicle in wintery conditions.
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Click here for more information and to access these valuable services and discounts.
Markel safety webinar series for 2017
Mark your calendars for another series of helpful and educational webinars presented by the best trainers and educators in the camping profession.
Supervision and staff oversight -- The key to safety at camp.
Creating a Culture of Warm and Cool Feedback.
Dr. Chris Thurber
Are your staff thinking or drinking? How to encourage wise use of time off
All camp directors face the anxious dilemma of knowing their staff deserve time off, but not feeling confident they will spend that time wisely. When binge drinking is the default time-off activity, risks such as drunk driving and sexual assault multiply.
Leading the leaders: how to motivate and develop leadership team members to boost excellence and responsibility.
Practical strategies to increase their professional growth, job satisfaction, commitment, and performance.