Spring inspections, projects are on deck

As outside temperatures rise, they bring with them a welcomed thawing of snow and ice. As the snow disappears, however, damage and hazards on your camp's property might begin to appear.

It is important for your camp to identify and correct early in the spring any property damage or hazards that exist. By doing so, you can greatly reduce serious loss or the chance of an injury.

Inspections and repairs

Freezing and thawing of the ground can cause extreme pressure on structures, foundations, flooring, and exterior and interior walls, so they should be inspected for any signs of damage. New cracks or openings in the foundation or exterior walls can allow water from melting snow and ice to seep into buildings. 

Snow and ice, along with constant freezing and thawing in the spring, also can lead to significant damage to gutters and eaves and cause water to back up on or into roofs. Roofs, ceilings and attic areas should all be inspected for any signs of trouble. Roofs also should be inspected for any missing, raised or torn shingles. Look for downed tree branches lying on the roof and limbs rubbing against the exterior of the building. Preforming regular inspections and preventive maintenance can help extend the useful service life of roofs and avoid costly damage.

If needed, add extensions to the ends of downspouts to ensure proper run-off of roof water away from the building. Check any catch basins around the property to ensure they are not obstructed and that they are properly protected to prevent trip-and-fall hazards. Harsh weather conditions can wreak havoc on a building’s exterior paint and/or stain. Exterior walls, overhangs, fascia boards and foundation walls should all be inspected for signs of deterioration of painted or stained surfaces. Paint or stain should be re-applied to weather-worn areas to prevent moisture from penetrating an exterior surface and protect it from summer heat and humidity.

HVAC spring tune-up

Heating/cooling systems and water heaters should be inspected and serviced by a qualified professional to verify that all units are working properly and have adequate ventilation. Check ventilation pipes and chimneys for cracks and leaks, and ensure there are no obstructions such as birds' nests. Change dirty air filters in the spring and fall to help maintain proper air flow and heating efficiency.

Safe sleeping areas

Inspect all sleeping areas to ensure smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly, and replace all batteries at this time. Install CO detectors in all residential units, cabins and dorms that are equipped with gas-fueled heating or cooking units. A carbon monoxide detector is one of the most important devices your camp can have to protect your guests and employees from accidental poisoning.   

Carbon monoxide detectors work much like smoke alarms. They are designed to sound alerts, warning occupants about high levels of carbon monoxide. Detectors are no substitute for proper maintenance and safe use of equipment that can produce carbon monoxide. Check local safety codes concerning the number and placement of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Walking trails and parking areas

Parking lots, sidewalks and other walking areas such as trails tend to develop holes and cracks during the winter. Most often, parking lots and sidewalk areas are the first and last things your visitors, guests and staff members will come in contact with at your facility. It is important to keep these areas in good condition. Slips, trips and falls account for about 50 percent of all injuries each year. Whether it is slipping on ice, tripping in a pothole or falling on an uneven surface, parking lots and other walking surfaces are among the most common places for injuries to occur.

Visit https://www.churchmutual.com/campsafety to review more safety information.

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Church Mutual Insurance Company, S.I. (a stock insurer)
P.O. Box 357 | 3000 Schuster Lane | Merrill, WI 54452-0357
Telephone (800) 554-2642 or (715) 536-5577

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Church Mutual is a stock insurer whose policyholders are members of the parent mutual holding company formed on 1/1/20. S.I. = a stock insurer.