As camps move into the dormant season, it is important to remember that risks do not magically disappear when campers go home. There are a number of common incidents that occur in the off-season, but preparing well and establishing protocols to detect and respond to any issues will help ensure that winter is restful and rejuvenating.
If you are planning to lock the doors and have no one using your facilities for some period of time this winter, here are some ways to decrease the likelihood of unwanted surprises when you return.
It is much easier to notice if something goes missing while you are gone if you take careful inventory before you leave. This is also another opportunity to retire any equipment that has outlived its recommended lifespan.
Assume that unwelcome visitors will pass through your grounds at some point during the winter. Will they be able to access any elements of your ropes course or your climbing tower? In addition, post “no trespassing” signs.
If your facility will be shut for an extended period of time, be sure that someone who lives nearby will stop in regularly, and after serious weather events. Do not wait until you get back to discover that a tree has fallen through a cabin, or that someone took all of the copper pipes out of the dining hall.
A single HVAC unit contains roughly $1,200 worth of copper. It’s a good idea to install cages around HVACs, and to mark any copper piping with identifiers that a thief cannot erase.
Say hello to the first responders who will be on the scene in the event that something unexpected happens. Let them know the dates when your facility will be empty, and share the precautions you’ve taken. See if they might be willing to stop in occasionally. Be sure that they have a good way to reach you if they notice something out of the ordinary.
Nothing negates a vacation like coming back to broken plumbing. Even if you are only closing for a weekend, a sudden drop in temperature can burst pipes over night if you are not prepared. Please read our detailed instructions on how to prevent frozen pipes.
Maintain access to the property by contracting with a service to plow all roads into and out of camp, if needed.
If you are well prepared, you can enjoy your time away, confident that your facility will be ready to jump back into action when you return. After all, winter should be one of the most peaceful times of year.