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The Aftermath of Oklahoma's Great Freeze

The Aftermath of Oklahoma's Great Freeze

The cold period we exited this week has caused some immediate issues that will require attention. The biggest and most immediate issue we have is the effect on plumbing and the stress on district buildings. Flooding will be obvious, but other concerns include pumps, roofs, electrical systems and quite possibly HVAC units. 

Pumps and roofs may not have ruptured, but if pumps have been inactive, there may be some issues with restarting them, even if there aren't any leaks or damages. Assuming there is no issue could cause a more expensive problem later. If the school was in a blackout, the pump may not be turning due to the breakers being thrown. Likewise, the pump may be inoperable due to it burning up.    

Roofs could have similar issues not readily apparent. It is important to remember that anytime we have high winds as we did during the cold conditions, the drains and scuppers may become clogged. If a building is close to a plowed field, a construction site or an area with lots of dead leaves, not only did we have snow blowing, we also had things like dirt and leaves blowing around with the snow. If the drains and scuppers are not cleaned, water will pool on the roof and cause issues in the building that won’t appear until there is a heavy rain or a wet snow like we can get in early spring. Water has to have a place to go, or it will make its own path--normally not the path we would prefer.  

Anytime we have electricity loss, we always see breakers being tripped that we don’t realize were tripped. If the electricity dropped to a lower current for a long period of time or if it surged, it is a good idea to determine if the power strips with surge protectors are still in good working order. The negative effect that low electricity or power surges have on a breaker box are never good. The HVAC systems can have the same issue.

One last item to check is any athletic field with a sprinkler system. The cold weather did not just affect city water systems; it may have affected the water main in a sprinkler system. This may seem frivolous, but it is better to fix these problems before a season starts than to wait. Sprinkler systems provide a more aesthetically pleasing field to look at, but if the system is not working correctly it can be a hazard for all involved.   

We hope you didn’t have any issues with the weather, but now is the time to check for damages. Getting on the roof and thinking about the electrical systems are not the most entertaining use of time, but they are issues that must be examined. Repairing minor issues before they become major ones is much less expensive than trying to remediate the issue after the problem is allowed to become more extreme.  

Andy Evans

Director, Finance

Andy serves as the Finance Director for OPSRC. In this role, he provides help in financial and business-related areas for schools. This includes budgets, managing cash flow, Estimate of Needs, federal programs and general service to aid in the effective use of district resources. Additionally, Andy serves as a resource in customizing budget spreadsheets, projection sheets, and other financial tools essential to administrators in maintaining their district’s financial health.

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