4 Winter Weather Tips for Parks and Recreation Professionals

4 Winter Weather Tips for Parks and Recreation Professionals

While winter can be a beautiful season, it can also be quite dangerous for parks and recreation facilities and their guests. Snow, ice, winds, and other winter weather conditions can make parks, trails, and playgrounds downright dangerous.

Luckily, there are steps you can take as parks and recreation professionals to keep guests and staff safe during the winter months. Here are our top four winter weather tips for parks and recreation professionals straight from the mouths of our meteorologists.

Encourage People to Stay Off of the Roads

During times of extreme winter weather, parks and recreation professionals should warn both prospective guests and non-essential employees to stay off of the roads. It’s always best to stay off of roadways during winter storms as conditions can decrease visibility and tire traction. Most traffic crashes happen within the first two hours after a storm starts. Even after that time frame passes, crashes are still likely to occur.

If you have essential employees that must come into work, make sure they drive carefully. They should clear all snow and ice from their vehicle’s roof, hood, trunk, windows, and lights. You should also remind them not to pass snowplows or spreaders unless absolutely necessary. You should treat them like you would emergency response vehicles. Take it slow and steady on roads experiencing winter weather conditions.

Prepare Facilities

Winter weather conditions can do a number on different pieces of equipment your facility may have. Before winter weather starts to wreak havoc on your infrastructure, there are a few things you can do to prevent any serious damage from occurring.

Make sure you weather-proof doors and windows to trap heat inside of your indoor facilities. You can also insulate pipes with newspaper and let faucets drip to keep pipes from freezing in times of extreme cold. You should also know how to shut off water valves in case your pipes burst.

Before winter hits, you can also repair any cracks you have in asphalt or concrete to prevent ice from doing further damage in the winter months. It’s also a good idea to trim any tree branches over buildings, playgrounds, and other equipment so they can’t fall under the weight of ice and snow.

One of the best ways to prepare is to know when severe winter weather is headed your way. That way, you can issue status updates to guests and employees before things get dangerous. You can monitor severe winter weather with a weather visualization tool, like Sferic Maps. Give it a try for free this winter and see how it helps keep your facilities safe this winter.

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Clear Walkways and Buildings

After a winter storm hits your parks and recreation facilities, you should immediately begin clearing walkways and heavily frequented apparatuses. Letting ice and/or built up on walkways isn’t only dangerous, but it could do irreversible damage to your surfaces. Make sure you have the tools necessary to clear your facility as quickly as possible.

If you are a small park, you may just need a few shovels and some salt to make your area safe. However, if you are a larger facility with multiple roads, walkways, and trails, you may need to hire a professional snow clearing company.

Communicate with your Community

The last things on our list of winter weather tips for parks and recreation professionals is to communicate with your community. This includes communication as to whether your facility is open as well as general winter wellness information. The best channel for doing this is social media. Keep your community updated on channels like Facebook and Twitter. Also, keep phone lines open or have an automatic status message set up so when people call they know if you are opened or closed.

As a parks and recreation facility, it’s your job to help your community maintain and improve their health year-round, even if they can’t reach your facilities. Remind community members to protect themselves from cold weather and dangerous winter conditions by doing the following:

  • Dress warmly with several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing
  • Limit skin exposure to prevent frostbite
  • Wear mittens because they are warmer than gloves
  • Wear a hat to retain body heat
  • Cover your mouth with a neck gaiter or scarf to protect lungs
  • Avoid getting wet to avoid hypothermia
  • Have a winter emergency kit


Did We Miss Anything?

Do you do anything differently to keep your parks and recreation facility safe during the winter months? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll add it to the blog. Thanks for reading!