Informative

  • Snow & Ice Storm 2015

    Storm Information

    The snow & ice storm of 2015 was one of the worst ice/snow storms hit the south and east side of the United States leaving over 300,000 people without power. Damage was done mostly in the south but the east was also severely affected.

    At least 7 people were killed on icy/snowy roads during this storm. The top recorded snow fall was in Kentucky where snowfall reached up to 18 inches, with the top ice being recorded at around 3/4 inch of ice in Tennessee covering the roads. With this many roads and highways were shut down. Temperatures in the single digits were very common in most locations of the south and east coast.

    Areas east of Nashville, especially on the Cumberland Plateau, received the most devastating blow. With power lines, power poles, and trees coming down in many places, causing widespread power outages and roadways being blocked. According to Cumberland County Emergency Management, it was considered the "worst natural disaster in the history of Cumberland County." The Volunteer Electric Coop reported 35,000 people without power at the peak of the storm, including all of Fentress County and most of Cumberland County, as well as 700 broken power poles and $9.5 million in damage to their utility system.

    Cumberland County-Tennessee

    Analysis

    There are many reasons why it is so crucial to be prepared for winter storms like this. The more prepared with winter equipment and emergency services the easier they could have controlled the situation. Which could have possibly resulted in less accidents and injuries during this winter storm.

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  • 10 Ways To Naturally Melt Snow & Ice This Winter

    Kid-shoveling-snow

    An unfortunate environmentally damaging, but popular, practice every winter is to disperse rock salt (or sodium chloride) over driveways and sidewalks to melt ice. It's a cheap, speedy method...but at what "price"?

    The Problem Of Rock Salt Pollution:

    If you live in a place that has lots of snow and ice in the winter, then you have probably seen the highway department spreading salt on the road to melt the ice.­ You may have also used salt on ice when making home-made ice cream. Salt lowers the freezing/melting point of water, so in both cases the idea is to take advantage of the lower melting point.

    On a roadway, this means that if you sprinkle salt on the ice, you can melt it. The salt dissolves into the liquid water in the ice and lowers its freezing point.

    In the short-term, the use of rock salt keeps roads and cities up and running after a blizzard and has been shown to reduce vehicular accidents by as much as 87%. But in the long view, its widespread use has a dreadful environmental impact. Each year, around 22 million tons of rock salt is dumped on roads and sidewalks in the U.S.

    But, the question is. Where does this salt go?

    Fresh water becomes salt water

    After it is spread on the roads, rock salt eventually dissolves and splits up into chloride and sodium ions. Carried to streams, lakes, and rivers, via surface runoff while also seeping into the earth’s groundwater supply, it increases the salt concentration of fresh water sources and accumulates steadily over time. Every spring, after a big thaw, the concentration of salt in fresh water spikes to around one third of the salt levels found in the ocean.

    The fear of this method is that scientist predict, with continued use, any freshwater sources in the northeastern United States would no longer be safe for human/animal consumption.

    Destructive to wildlife

    A study on pond-breeding amphibians (specifically salamanders and frogs), published in April 2008 in Ecological Society Of America, found that "road salt travels as far as 172 meters from the highways and into the wetlands, reducing the number of eggs laid and the survival rates at the egg and larval stage." Relating to the Earth, road salt kills off trees, plants, birds and has the potential to disrupt organisms' natural environment and food supply.

    Salty soil

    When salt accumulates in the soil, it interferes with a plant’s ability to absorb nutrients. Sodium reduces the uptake of water, potassium, calcium, and magnesium – all vital elements for plant growth. Brown patches on the lawn and stunted plants in the garden are telltale signs of salty soil.

    Property damage

    Sodium chloride is extremely damaging and corrosive.  It is known to cause rust on vehicles and "eat away" at bridges, concrete structures and cracked paved surfaces. Less severe, it is known for inevitable permanent marks on boots, pants, and jackets or other outside clothing that it may come in contact with.

    Toxic to pets

    Rock salt is also an irritant. Cats and dogs are often subjected to painful burning, inflammation, and cracked pads after walking on treated surfaces. If not washed off right away, pets can ingest it by licking their paws. Symptoms of exposure and ingestion of road salt include salivation, diarrhea, vomiting, excessive water loss, and seizures. In extreme cases, if consumed in large quantities,it can lead to hypernatremias (a fancy way of saying salt poisoning), which can ultimately lead to death in animals.

    green

    Green Alternatives To Road Salt:

    Local governments take up the majority of road salt use, but the good news is that many municipalities across the country are seeking out more earth-friendly solutions to the sodium chloride problem!

    The ultimate goal would to be stop using road salt all together, but in the meantime, individuals and business owners can fight icy sidewalks and driveways, by choosing greener alternatives:

    1. Wood ash

    A simple, free product from the fireplace, wood ash contains potassium salts which helps melt snow, and provide a bit of traction, in moderate conditions. Since ash is darker in color, it will absorb the heat of the sun. Though it won’t work as quickly as rock salt, wood ash is a much gentler salt that won’t harm your plants, animals, or paved surfaces.

    2. Alfalfa meal

    Alfalfa Meal is an all natural fertilizer made from fermented alfalfa plants. Alfalfa meal's grainy texture will add some traction and the nitrogen will work as a de-icer. Because it is longer lasting than sodium chloride, you need only use it sparingly on snowy surfaces and should be careful not to add to the effects of algal bloom in our freshwater.

    3. Leftover coffee grounds

    The nitrogen and acids in coffee grounds can help melt ice and snow while adding extra grip. The dark color also means you’ll get attraction from the sun aiding in additional melting.

    4. Tarp it

    Place plastic tarps on high-traffic surfaces (such as door entries, pathways, and the distance between your car and your home) just before the storm rolls in. Depending on the amount of snowfall, shovel it off or shake out the tarp before it gets the chance to freeze up.

    5. Sugar beet juice

    Many municipalities are mixing sugar beet juice with rock salt to enhance the ice melting effects of sodium chloride. But sugar beet juice can be used all on its own for small-scale applications around the home. Effective to a temperature of minus 13°F, the sugars present in beet juice lower the freezing point of water so it can be applied to surfaces ahead of a blizzard to prevent snow and ice from accumulating.

    6. Homemade ice melter

    Here’s a DIY recipe that works really well:

    2 quarts of warm water + 6 drops of dish soap + 2 ounces of rubbing alcohol

    Transfer this solution to a spray bottle. The ice should break up right away and make shoveling so much easier.

    7. Add grit

    Unless the icy build-up is a real hazard, in most cases just adding grit to snowy surfaces will provide the traction you need to safely get from point A to point B. Try laying down some sand, gravel, or birdseed to give walkways more traction. Avoid using clay based kitty litters though, since it will turn into watery sludge once it comes in contact with moisture and make the ground even more slippery than it was before.

    8. All-Natural Rock Salt Alternatives

    Several companies have focused on making more eco-friendly/nontoxic alternative versions of "rock salt" using more natural ingredients to help aid in creating traction and melting ice. Browse your local stores for pet/plant friendly alternatives!

    9. Vinegar

    By mixing equivalent amounts of vinegar and water you can produce a less potent deicer. If the ice is very thick combine 40 percent water and 60 percent vinegar. Pour the mixture on iced surfaces and ice will slowly turn to liquid.

    Once the ice has already melted using these simple items, make sure that shovel snow immediately after snow storm to prevent it from forming into hard ice. This way, you can get away from dealing with slippery and dangerous path for you and your family’s safety.

    10. Good old fashioned shoveling

    Let's face it, typically, no one exactly enjoys going out and shoveling their driveway or walkways, but simply shoveling away the snow after a storm will prevent the need for extra ice melting treatments. Make it easy on yourself this year by spraying the shovel blade with cooking oil! This will stop snow and ice from sticking while you work and make your time outside go by so much faster!

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  • Spot The Dot

    Spot the Dot

    We here at Winter Equipment always strive to have the best safety programs to keep our employees safe.

    Meet Kevin Hildebrand:

    IMG_8352

    Kevin has been an important part of Winter Equipment's safety education and upkeep. Among many other contributions to the company, Kevin helps implement all of our safety standards and programs.

    Safety Program

    One of our newest programs that we have recently implemented is called "Spot The Dot." The program is designed to keep employees aware of their surroundings and potential hazards.

    Spot The Dot consists of codes represented by the following colored "dots" :

    reddot  red (severe)

    yellow dot  yellow (needs attention right away)

    greendot green (could become a hazard)

    The colored dots will be placed in the area where there is a safety concern coordinated with the severity of the hazard. When an employee finds the dot they bring it to the safety director and explain what the problem is and how to resolve it according to OSHA standard.

    After all the steps are completed the employee is rewarded with a  prize and also a mention in our monthly employee news letter . At the end of the year whoever has the most dots collected will receive a larger prize. So far this program has worked with great success and we are getting great feedback from our employees.

     

    Here are a few safety tips to remember when working in an warehouse/manufacturing environment:

         Prevent slips, trips and falls

    • Report and clean up spills and leaks.
    • Keep aisles and exits clear of items.
    • Replace worn, ripped or damage flooring.

         Eliminate fire hazards

    • Keep combustible materials in the work area only in amounts needed for the job. When they are unneeded, move them to an assigned safe storage area.
    • Store quick-burning, flammable materials in designated locations away from ignition sources.
    • Avoid contaminating clothes with flammable liquids. Change clothes if contamination occurs.

    download   Avoid tracking materials

    If the materials are toxic, industrial hygiene testing, uniforms and showering facilities might be needed. Employees who work with toxic materials should not wear their work clothes home.

    Image result for storage materials signs   Store materials properly

    Unused materials and equipment should be stored out of the way of workers. Avoid using work spaces for storage and remember to put everything back in its proper place.

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  • Spring Road Maintenance

    Spring Road Maintenance

    Are your roads ready for summer?

    Accumulated snow and ice, the thaw spring brings on and seasonal rains can cause problems for our roads. As we recover from the winter, here are some maintenance items on your roads that may need repair:

    Sign damage.

    Sign Damage - Road Maintenance

    Check for signs damaged during the winter by vehicle accidents and snowplowing operations. Repair or replace signs and signposts that are missing, broken, or bent.

    Guardrail damage.

    Guardrail Damage - Road Maintenance

    Repair or replace guardrails that fell victim to winter driving and plowing operations.

    Faded pavement markings.

    Faded Pavement - Road Maintenance

    Check for markings that need repainting and schedule the job when the weather improves.

    Potholes.

    Pothole - Road Maintenance

    Make temporary patching repairs as soon as possible and plan for permanent repairs.

    With all the ware and tear our roads and highways take, get ahead not only for summer, but for next winter! 

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  • Winter Equipment and the American Dream

    Winter Equipment and the American Dream

    For Kent Winter, the founder of Winter Equipment, owning a company has always been about employing others. From the very beginning, everything Kent has done has been with the goal of never having to lay anyone off during the summer season. Through hard work, persistence, and commitment to employees and manufacturing in the United States, Winter Equipment has established itself as an exemplary company and leader in the snow removal industry.

    For the majority of his life, Kent has been surrounded by steel and snow. He grew up in Utah and attended Utah State University. After graduating with a degree in Welding Engineering, Kent relocated to Cleveland, Ohio to work as a salesman for Lincoln Electric. He spent 13 years there, learning about the welding industry and working on steel fabrication. Kent began tinkering with the idea of starting his own company when a friend gave him a brochure on snowplow cutting blades.

    Company History

    In the beginning, Winter Equipment consisted of just Kent working out of his house. He was determined to create snowplow blades that would last longer than what was on the market. Presently, Kent's patented plow guard is the industry standard. The first four to five years of the business was all trial and error; Kent needed to get the idea right and decide on the best way to execute it. The first sale- for five products- was based on a model created with popsicle sticks and graph paper. After the initial order, Kent began selling to big snow truck companies and city departments of transportation. However, selling the model and actually delivering on the product were two different things. Kent's next move was to figure out where to make the blades--the orange paint stained floor of his home would no longer suffice. Within six years the initial sales, Winter Equipment was conceived, and the company has been growing ever since.

    From day one, Winter Equipment has been committed to the ethos Made in America. From using steel fabricated in Ohio to manufacturing completely in the US, Winter Equipment has stuck with its original ideal. The company's commitment to Made in America extends beyond sourcing and manufacturing to employing as many local people as possible.

    True to it's Made in America commitment, Winter Equipment Values community and strives to give back to society. To support its goal of maintaining continuity of employment, Winter Equipment never has layoffs. With the unpredictable nature of winter, the company does not want to risk losing its loyal, skilled employees. Instead, during mild winters employees will work full time for charities while still being paid by Winter Equipment. Employees feel rewarded when they contribute their time and expertise to the community and are proud to be part of a company that endorses service to others.

    Snow Removal Industry

    The snow removal industry is changing due to always changing weather patterns and technological advancements. Winter Equipment prides itself on staying ahead of the storm. States that previously did not have snow now confront the need to invest in and learn about snow removal practices. Winter Equipment engages with these new markets, training clients in the cutting edge applications of their state-of-the-art snow removal equipment. New technology paves the way for creating more efficient blade systems with longer lasting edges, thus reducing reliance on salt. With better edges, trucks can stay on the road for longer periods of time. Winter Equipment is proud to be a leader in the future of the snow removal industry. The company consistently innovates to bring new, cost-effective ideas to the forefront.

    For Kent, establishing a dynamic and vital company founded on hard work, ingenuity, and integrity, where employees are valued as its greatest asset, has been the American dream come true.

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  • Winter is Coming.

    If you are from one of the snow-filled states come November, you have to ask yourself one question…

    Are you prepared?

    There is a very good chance the answer is no. Last year, the majority of cities ran out of the most important supply---salt! And what was available doubled in price. This was a huge setback to everyone around the country.

    Meteorologist Joe Bastardi has predicted the weather for years. He has predicted that this year is going to be very similar to last year’s torturous one, possibly worse. Tons of snowfall, tons of frigid temperatures. The snowfall will be focused more on the eastern and southern parts of the United States like D.C and even parts of Louisiana. However, he is quick to add that it doesn’t mean states in other areas won’t see a good amount of snow. This will inevitably mean more salt is needed than available. Areas are going to have to start relying on bigger and better ways to keep the streets safe and clear.

    There is always a sense of panic when it is predicted for a hard winter. We think about dozens of things, one of those is being ready. Are we? Is it too soon (it probably is!) Are my tires ready to handle it? Will I have to find a babysitter if schools close? Will I be able to make it to work? These questions are never-ending. And a lot of us are used to the harsh winters. We have our car scrapers and heavy coats ready by October.

    Joe Bastardi Prediction Video

    Joe Bastardi doesn’t try to scare us. He wants to prepare us! And that is exactly what our mission is at Winter Equipment. We all know the snow is coming. Thinking ahead is great when ordering systems or parts for your company. There is a reason W.E.C is working year-round for all of your needs. We want you to be ready for when that first snowflake hits the ground. And if the salt supply runs out and prices are sky-high, everyone has to turn to plowing roads at a fast and efficient pace. We pride ourselves on being equipped at a moment’s notice for your orders.

    The fact is, winter is coming whether we are ready or not. And this is where we come in. Winter Equipment is always ready for your needs. We work with many Departments of Transportation, Counties, Municipalities and Contractors. Our cutting edge blades, shoes, markers and guards help drivers tackle the snow in the most effective ways. We are always developing products that make us one of the best in the business. We believe in what we make and sell, will you?

     

    Call us for a quote today! 800-294-6837

    Visit our website at www.WinterEquipment.com/snow !

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