Believe it or not, winter is right around the corner. It’s never too early to start preparing to keep your facilities safe for students. Winters in the Midwest, Northeast, and across the country can be intense; a lot of heavy snow and freezing temperatures make simply going to the grocery store a pain. Particularly during the colder season, it’s worth investing in winterizing tactics that make it easier to maintain operations. Our rock salt and de-icer supplier is knowledgeable in this area and is happy to help.
Snow and Ice Removal in Schools: What Needs to Be Done?
In many ways, school buildings are at risk throughout the course of winter. We’ve highlighted several ways that we can help keep your school safe during even the coldest of days.
De-Icing School Sidewalks and Playgrounds
Schools that have concrete outdoor pathways, sidewalks, playgrounds, and parking lots need to make sure that snow and ice are removed as quickly as possible in the winter months. What’s even better is if the snow doesn’t have an opportunity to accumulate, to begin with.
De-icing materials such as magnesium chloride and calcium chloride can be used both proactively and reactively on these surfaces to maintain a safe environment. For example, if you turn on the weather channel and see the local news reporting that a big snow or ice storm is headed your way overnight, you can spread a layer of liquid deicer or salt over the surfaces before going home.
It’s not always possible to be proactive, though. In this case, you can use both magnesium chloride and calcium chloride first thing in the morning to start melting the snow and getting rid of the ice. Since these products don’t have an expiration date, it's a good idea to make sure you always have extra on hand. You can spread it with a push spreader, use a tow spreader that’s hitched to a lawnmower, or even a tailgate spreader on a pickup truck.
De-Icing Parking Lots
Make sure that your school snow removal plan addresses the parking lots. The parking lots and sidewalks need to be clear to keep your parents, students, and staff as safe as possible. Rather than tackling the snow and ice after it’s accumulated, you can also prepare ahead of time. Anti-icing methods can stop snow pack from forming with the right materials.
Making School Entrance Safe
School entrances need to be kept safe so your faculty and students have a safe way to get in and out of the building. If there is melted snow or slushy ice, it can easily get tracked into your buildings by foot traffic. You’ll want to invest in a matting system to handle this. Outside, you can use a heavy-duty rubber mat to scrape snow from shoes before they enter.
Checking School Buses
There needs to be a way to keep school buses safe during the winter as well. This means taking care of school bus snow removal by looking at the roofs and wheels on the buses. Always make sure to look over the school buses to see that the wheels are in good shape to navigate through the snow. If there is unexpected weather, you’ll want to clear the tops of the roofs as promptly as possible so the buses are functional when needed.
Removing Snow and Ice from the Roofs
Roofs seem to take the brunt of the effects during the winter season. Snow can easily build up on your roof and cause damage. Flat roofs are the most common type for school facilities, so it’s important that you regularly inspect the roof of your school to avoid leaks from developing and causing more damage. You’ll ideally check the roof of your school regularly to see if there are any split seams where water could accumulate.
It’s important to invest in a snow and ice removal plan to avoid snow from building up too heavily on the roof of the school. If there’s a buildup of snow or ice, it could create holes or cracks, allowing cold air or melted snow and ice to get inside. In the case that your roof is slanted, you’ll want to check the shingles and vents to ensure they’re in good working order. If you see shingles with rips, holes, or dents, get them replaced as soon as possible.
4 Steps to Take When Preparing School for Winter Weather
Now that you’ve considered school snow removal, you’ll need to make a clear plan of action so your property, no matter its size, is always safe. We’ve outlined four different steps to take to implement this plan successfully.
1. Assign Clear Roles in Snow Removal and De-Icing Process
When it comes to your staffing, make sure that you’ve assigned your team to different roles so you can divide and conquer. Maybe you have custodians involved in the process who can be assigned to parking lots and sidewalks. Regardless of your approach, make sure to outline the roles and responsibilities in a written format.
2. Get Supplies
It sounds obvious, but you’ll want to stock up on the right supplies before the winter hits such as rock salt for schools. Materials such as calcium chloride and magnesium chloride are effective in melting snow and ice quickly. The last thing you’ll want is to be caught scrambling to get materials together. Make sure that you’re providing your team with shovels, ice melt, snow blowers, sand, etc.
3. Make Property Priority List
There’s a certain priority level for different areas of the school property. Make sure to determine what areas should be cleared first. You’ll want to prioritize parking lots, driveways, main entrances or any other high traffic areas.
4. Do the Necessary Cleaning
Once your property is free from snow and ice, you’ll want to remove any excess sand or leftover deicing product. Getting rid of sand and salt can help avoid damage to the concrete or plants on the property. It will also reduce the amount brought into the building by foot traffic.
School snow removal should be an important part of your winter strategy. As soon as a student or faculty member steps onto your school grounds, they should feel safe. Don’t let mother nature catch you by surprise. It’s important to formulate a plan ahead of time so you have the tools and procedures in place to take action. If you’re looking for a rock salt and de-icer supplier, we’re happy to help! Get a quote from us today.