Insurance Leader McNeil and Company Issues Tips for Businesses Working Outdoors to Lower Risk of Potentially Fatal "Cold Stress" During Severe Winter Storms

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A Leader in Specialized Insurance, McNeil & Company Advises Emergency Response and Recovery Personnel to Take Extra Precautions

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Businesses required to work outdoors in cold environments for extended periods of time should take extra precautions

During the current blizzard, McNeil & Company, a nationwide leader in specialized insurance programs, has issued important tips for protecting businesses whose employees must work outside – emergency response and recovery personnel, such as fire fighters and emergency medical technicians – during severe winter storms.

The hazards to specialized businesses from severe winter storms are dramatic and potentially devastating. Wind-driven snow can make it impossible to see, creates large drifts and lowers the wind chill. Blizzards and ice storms can also knock down trees, utility poles and power lines. Even small amounts of ice are extremely hazardous to motorists and pedestrians.

“Businesses required to work outdoors in cold environments for extended periods of time should take extra precautions,” said Derek Davis, marketing manager at McNeil & Company. “These workers – even more critically needed during powerful winter storms – have a greater chance of encountering cold stress, which occurs when skin temperature (and internal body temperature) dramatically drops. This can lead to serious health problems, potentially causing tissue damage, and possibly death.”

Unusually cold work environments force the body to work much harder to maintain its temperature, and when outside temperatures drop way below normal and wind speed increases, heat can leave the body rapidly. Many do not recognize the danger of cold stress before it is too late.

Risk factors that may contribute to cold stress include:

  •     Wetness/dampness, dressing improperly and exhaustion
  •     Predisposing health conditions such as hypertension, hypothyroidism and diabetes
  •     Poor physical conditioning

To protect oneself during winter storms, McNeil & Company advises the following:

  •     Make adequate preparations before a winter storm strikes.
  •     "Winterize" all vehicles with fresh antifreeze and a strong battery. Use snow tires. Keep a winter survival kit in your car.
  •     During a storm, monitor National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio, local radio or television for the latest weather reports and emergency information.
  •     If staff must be outside, they should wear plenty of layers of clothing. They should be careful not to over-exert themselves. Make sure they wear hats because the largest amount of body heat is lost through the top of the head.
  •     Slow down when driving.
  •     During blizzard conditions try not to drive; but if you must drive, be sure to completely clear snow and ice from your vehicle.
  •     If you get stranded in your car, stay with it until help arrives. Do not try to walk for help during a blizzard.

About McNeil & Company
McNeil & Company is a nationwide leader in specialized insurance programs, drawing on deep industry expertise to develop and deliver policies and risk management services that meet the unique needs of clients. McNeil & Company offers the best possible specialized coverage, along with a full array of risk management services, to help customers maximize preparedness and grow their businesses. Established in 1989 to answer a need for more comprehensive, tailored policies in the emergency services market, McNeil & Company has developed and expanded a model for specialty insurance programs based in genuine industry knowledge and a consultative approach to loss control and risk management. Acclaimed products include AdvenSure, ASIP, Car Wash, ESIP (and Benefits), FireWatch, HOMed (O&P Plus), WildPRO and the Bar, Tavern, Club Program.

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Brittnie Mabry