Preparing Your Amenities or Facilities for Spring
Published: 3/25/21 (Thu)
As we prepare for warmer spring and summer temperatures, and the likelihood that even more people will be heading outside, it’s important your local government entity ensures the continued safety of your employees and the public who use your amenities or facilities.
Here are some actions you can take to ensure your amenities or facilities are ready for increased traffic:
Sidewalk and Lawn Care
Anywhere employees or members of the public could step creates a need for your organization to review the status of your grounds, searching for damage or holes that may present a tripping hazard and repairing them. As you perform ground maintenance, be sure you mark areas in which pesticides were used by posting signs and remove poisonous plants, such as poison ivy and poison oak.
Remove Sand and Debris
Sand and debris buildup on roads and paths is inevitable following a snowy season, so be sure to clean up these areas to help reduce falls. Debris can be especially dangerous for people on wheels, including bikers and rollerbladers, so it’s important to tackle removal early and regularly throughout the season as branches make their way onto paths.
Clean Up Leaves
Yes, leaves could be included in the debris section, but we separated them from that section because the hazards they can potentially cause are different. Wet leaves can be the culprit of slips and falls, and piles of leaves can disguise pavement heaves, cracks, or holes that could lead to falls. By cleaning them up, you’re helping people safely navigate the terrain under their feet as well as identify the areas you need to address with repairs.
Tree Trimming and Removal
The weight of heavy snow can expose weak tree limbs, making them more likely to fall and cause damage to facilities or possibly injure an employee or member of the public. Be sure to survey your grounds and work with a local tree-care professional to identify and properly remove any hazardous tree limbs. Further, if any limbs reduce vehicle or pedestrian visibility, or traffic sign visibility, be sure they are trimmed to prevent accidents.
Tree-care professionals should also be consulted to determine tree health, removing trees that may be vulnerable to falls that could cause damage to facilities or possibly injure an employee or member of the public.
Parking Lot and Signage Paint
Condensation and temperature changes naturally erode street, parking lot, and trail paint over time. To help keep these zones accident free, be sure to repaint any faded traffic and parking cues and signage. Traffic cues include entrance and exit signage and speed bumps, and parking cues include curbing and parking spot lines. Additionally, if you are using barriers, including draping chains or cables, to prevent access to a specific area, be sure the materials are highly visible and include a sign. Brightly colored flexible plastic tubing covering chain or cable helps to make these barriers stand out.
LocalGovU features Work Zone Safety for Local Government and Work Zone Traffic Control that provide recommendations for signage and barrier use.
Signage should also be evaluated to determine if signs are properly located and contain the vibrancy needed to attract attention and warn people to proceed with caution. For example, a trail sign that warns people about an upcoming sharp curve or narrowing of the path should be highly visible in both placement and color.
As you prepare to reopen outdoor buildings, be sure to inspect the following aspects to ensure buildings are safe for employees and members of the public:
Chimneys should be inspected by a local professional to ensure snow and/or ice hasn’t created cracks in the flue or mortar joints and that it has been properly cleaned and maintained, both of which help to ensure carbon monoxide properly exits the building.
As snow continues to melt, now is the time to look at the condition of building roofs and identify any spots that may be leaking or sagging as well as any surface disruptions (i.e. bends, ripples, cracks, missing shingles, etc.) that may indicate issues with the integrity of the structure. You should also thoroughly inspect flashing to ensure there are no gaps in the seams and remove any obstructions from gutters. Obstructions, such as leaves and sticks, should also be removed from exterior drains.
Work with a licensed contractor to make repairs if any issues are discovered.
Additional pieces you should check to ensure they’re properly functioning include sump pumps, electrical boxes, air conditioning units, heating units, boilers, landscaping equipment (sprinkler systems, etc.), plumbing, and fire protection (alarms, extinguishers, etc.). Windows and doors should also be checked to see if they open and close property, cracks or holes in seals are repaired, and broken screens are replaced.
If your entity plans to reopen outdoor buildings, be sure to adhere to recommended COVID-19 safety guidelines from the CDC as well as NDResponse.
If you need any help evaluating your amenities or buildings that will reopen in the spring, contact NDIRF Director of Member Services Corey Olson at (701) 751-9107 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo Credit: North Dakota Tourism n/a Credit North Dakota Tourism