When it comes to winter property maintenance, snow, followed by rain, is one of the worst combinations you can face. The problem with rain or wet snow following a deep snowstorm is that the rainwater gets trapped in the snow rather than pouring off the roof. The increase in weight can be dramatic. Plus, the weight of snow varies depending on the temperature and moisture content. Roof damage from heavy snow loads and ice dams is a significant cause of property loss. Rainfall on top of snowmelt can significantly increase the intensity of floods, and a sudden roof collapse can seriously injure or kill building occupants. When heavy rain occurs on top of snowfall, it can also significantly increase the likelihood of damage to the interior of your buildings.

Signs of Danger

Fortunately, few roof failures and floods occur without some warning signs; beware of:

  1. “Ponding” of water on the roof areas
  2. Ripples or bends in steel roof supports
  3. Cracks in wooden members or rolled or bent metal purlins
  4. Sagging ceilings or roof lines–note: a suspended ceiling may hide these sags, so remove the tiles and look above them
  5. Cracks appearing in walls or ceiling–again, a suspended ceiling may hide these cracks
  6. Loud popping or cracking noises from the building structure. (A laminated wood beam in one school broke with such force that personnel reported hearing what sounded like an explosion)
  7. Obvious deformities in the roof

Snow Removal / Flooding Prevention 101

Here’s what you can do to help mitigate flooding and structural damage:

  1. Regular cleaning and clearing of roof scuttles/drains – having these areas clear of debris will increase the likelihood of water flowing freely off the roof
  2. Inspect roof flashing–many leaks are related to damaged flashing–and repair if necessary
  3. Check interiors for water stains on the inside and outside of walls and parapets; repair any leaks
  4. Inspect and clear drainage ditches, swales, and run-off areas of debris and accumulated silt so rainwater can flow freely away from buildings
  5. Inspect sump pump systems; augment or repair and replace if necessary
  6. Remove snow and ice from drains or drainage devices
  7. Remove drifted and unbalanced snow loads
  8. Remove snow in strip patterns, starting at the drainage device and proceeding up the slope; the snow and ice must not be removed entirely
  9. Use plastic shovels and plastic tubs to lower the snow to the ground
  10. Protect and barricade areas where snow will be dumped or lowered
  11. Don’t use snow blowers
  12. Don’t pile snow on the roof
  13. Don’t use picks, hammers, spud bars, or other sharp tools to remove ice
  14. Don’t use hot water pressure washers to remove snow from the field of the roof—this water generally freezes before it drains from the roof, adding to the weight
  15. Don’t block exit doors or fire exits with snow dumping or stockpiling

It is also recommended to have coverings on hand that can be used to mitigate further damage in case of a leak.  These covers can be used after the storm to prevent additional water from intruding into the building. Preparing for a winter weather event can help prevent significant damage to municipal and public school properties.

CIRMA members are encouraged to “prepare to prepare” by addressing the fundamental readiness of their facilities to weather any storm successfully. Please get in touch with your risk management professional with questions or for more information.

The history of law enforcement vehicles can be traced as far back as the 1800s. Initially, police used horses and patrol wagons; however, by the 1920s, the automobile transformed how they performed their duties. While an unfortunate reality, history also teaches that suspects, on occasion, flee from police officers. Police pursuits, while sometimes necessary, are high-risk events that can present significant dangers to suspects, members of the public, other vehicles on the road, and police officers themselves.

In light of these risks, law enforcement agencies must ensure their personnel adhere to their Department and State of Connecticut Pursuit Policies to ensure their and others’ safety and reduce liability. Police departments should also conduct regular police training on their specific pursuit policies to reinforce critical best practices and protocols.

Police Officer Standards and Training Council (POSTC) Model Pursuit Policy 

The POSTC Model Pursuit Policy is a practical resource that helps municipal police departments perform their duties safely and consistently. The document outlines all policy sections to help your department create a tailored policy. The model policy includes sample language on definitions, procedures, operations, responsibilities, tactics, firearm use, termination, inter-jurisdictional pursuits, post-pursuit reporting, alternative measures, and training.

CIRMA Can Help 

Police pursuits are complex issues that have kept leaders up at night since the advent of the modern automobile. Understanding state and local pursuit policies can help officers keep their personnel and communities safe while reducing liability for themselves and their respective police departments. 

CIRMA Risk Management provides a Roll Call Series targeted at Law Enforcement, various law-enforcement-focused training resources, and information curated through our Law Enforcement Advisory Committee.

CIRMA will help you review your department’s policies, including your police motor vehicle pursuit policy. Contact your CIRMA risk management consultant for more information today.

Training and Education You Can Trust

We’re dedicated to delivering the best possible resources for Connecticut’s Blue. CIRMA helps Connecticut law enforcement and emergency personnel continue to be the best at what they do through tailored risk management services and customized training and education programs—all at no additional cost to CIRMA-member employees and volunteers.

Our e-learning programs offer the latest education and insights on existing and emerging issues to help prepare our local heroes to face changing world challenges. CIRMA members enjoy access to robust and relevant eLearning courses delivered through our partnership with Vector Solutions, an award-winning training management system. 

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Law enforcement personnel spend extensive time on the road. Paradoxically, building defensive driving skills often receives little attention in basic academy training and is seldom promoted as part of in-service training. The need for defensive driver training is increasingly evident. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 33% of all line-of-duty deaths are motor vehicle-related. Furthermore, countrywide data finds that collisions involving law enforcement vehicles typically occur during routine driving conditions and are often preventable.

Law enforcement should be trained on a consistent basis and practice defensive driving because of their extensive time on the road and the unique demands of their duties. The State of Connecticut has over 90 municipal police departments, employing over 6,500 police officers. Vehicle-related incidents could be prevented if more effective driving techniques were applied behind the wheel. Ensuring municipal law enforcement is adequately trained on defensive driving can help minimize the hazards officers face while performing their duties on the road.

The following are the leading behavior-related hazards that put officers at risk of a crash while performing their duties: 

Defensive driver training and education, better driving practices, and increased awareness can help keep law enforcement officers and their communities safe. Officers work together to make their communities safer; they should also take every measure to keep themselves safe. Emergency vehicle operation is a primary activity for municipal law enforcement agencies, which further punctuates the need to routinely train officers on vehicle safety and defensive driving skills. 

CIRMA offers comprehensive defensive driver training resources for law enforcement personnelOur robust training and education tools feature awareness and statistics of police vehicle accidents, a review of state statutes, and risk management best practices. 

Has your municipality or school board taken advantage of the many benefits available through CIRMA’s exclusive training tools and resources? Contact your local CIRMA Risk Management representative to get started today.

Training and Education You Can Trust

We’re dedicated to delivering the best possible resources for Connecticut’s Blue. CIRMA helps Connecticut law enforcement and emergency personnel continue to be the best at what they do through tailored risk management services and customized training and education programs—all at no additional cost to CIRMA-member employees and volunteers.

Our e-learning programs offer the latest education and insights on existing and emerging issues to help prepare our local heroes to face the challenges of a changing world. CIRMA members enjoy access to robust and relevant eLearning courses delivered through our partnership with Vector Solutions, an award-winning training management system. 

Get Started


Odds are, if you’re a risk manager or information technology professional, you likely associate October with Cybersecurity awareness. And we can’t blame you. October is, after all, Cyber Security Awareness Month, and the unfortunate circumstances that can arise due to poor cybersecurity practices can be much more frightening than any Halloween scare. That’s why, this week, we’re drawing attention to the prevalence of human error in phishing attacks and the value of employee education and training.

IBM’s 2023 Cost of Data Breach Report identifies phishing as the most prevalent and costliest attack vector, responsible for an average cost of $4.9 million per data breach.

Human error (still) remains the leading cause of cybersecurity breaches, as employees continue to fall victim to phishing attacks. Verizon’s Data Breach Investigation report states that phishing makes up 44% of social engineering incidents. Organizations have battled human error since welcoming technology into the workplace. Whether employees ignore security software updates or fall victim to phishing emails, breaches can evolve from countless avenues due to fundamental human error. 

Over 90% of data breaches and hacks result from phishing scams that appear most frequently through emails, where criminals pose as legitimate institutions to obtain personal information. Successful phishing cyberattacks are costly and can cause substantial interruptions to your operations.

If you’re unsure whether you’ve identified a potential email phishing scam, remember to always err on the side of caution and report it immediately.

If you suspect an email phishing scam, here’s what to look for:

Educating employees to identify common phishing scam tactics is the first step to mitigating cybercrime. The most effective defense is raising awareness about all types of phishing scams through training and education. Has your municipality or school board taken advantage of the many benefits available through CIRMA’s exclusive online training and education platform? Contact your local CIRMA Risk Management representative to get started today.

Learning how to be cyber-smart has never been more convenient. CIRMA’s online courses and webinars allow employees to learn at their own pace, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. CIRMA offers a Cyber Webinar Series through its exclusive CIRMA member Vector Solutions platform. This robust training and education tool features cybersecurity-related online training courses and webinars proven to educate employees and reduce costly and disruptive cybercrimes, including phishing attacks.  

If you haven’t taken advantage of the many benefits available through CIRMA’s exclusive online training and education platform, contact your local CIRMA Risk Management representative to get started today. There is no additional charge to CIRMA members for this service. 

Critical infrastructure includes resources that provide functions necessary for our way of life. Threats to these resources, including cybersecurity exposures, often have debilitating security, economic, and public health and safety consequences.

The evolving cybersecurity risk landscape demands an evolved response.

Through a collaboration between the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Connecticut Military Department (CTMD) Joint Cyber Team, and industry partners like CIRMA, critical cyber resources are now available to help your public entity address evolving cybersecurity threats head-on. The CTMD Joint Cyber Team offers comprehensive Cyber Assessments to all 169 Connecticut Municipalities. The Team uses Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and Connecticut Interlocal Risk Management Agency (CIRMA) guidelines to assess cybersecurity and relative operational policies.

Assessments are fully funded by the Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (DEMHS).  

Getting started is easy; Contact a CTMD Joint Cyber Team Member to schedule your Assessment. Assessments take approximately 60 to 90 minutes to complete and should include members of your Information Technology (IT) Team.

Your entity will receive a comprehensive report on organizational vulnerabilities to cyberattacks, infrastructure weaknesses, and proven recommendations for corrective action.

Cyber Assessments can help:

  1. Reduce the likelihood of a damaging cyber incident
  2. Detect malicious activity quickly
  3. Respond effectively to confirmed incidents
  4. Maximize organizational resilience

Assessments can also be used as a framework to qualify your municipality for cyber insurance and funding. 

Take advantage of this critical resource today to reduce cybersecurity exposures to help strengthen the resilience of America’s infrastructure—including Connecticut cities and towns like yours.

 Remember, training and education remain the most effective defense against cybercrime and knowing how to protect yourself, and your organization is easier than ever. Learn at your own pace and when and where you choose with CIRMA’s e-learning resources, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you haven’t taken advantage of the many benefits available through CIRMA’s e-Learning platform, contact your local CIRMA Risk Management representative today to get started. CIRMA members and their employees enjoy access to this exclusive learning platform as part of their membership.

Check out CIRMA’s Cyber Center to learn how CIRMA can help your organization prevent and manage cyber exposures.

Cyber Resources Created for CIRMA Members:

Winter weather conditions pose extremely dangerous road conditions for drivers. According to the Federal Highway Administration, over 70% of the nation’s roads are located in snowy regions–including Connecticut and surrounding New England. Reduced pavement friction caused by snow and ice leads to lower roadway capacities, loss of control, and higher crash risks. Your public entity certainly cannot control roadway conditions, but with the right strategies in place, it can help promote safe driving practices by enforcing critical driver and road safety policies.

Before you drive:

Vehicle Preparation:

Employers should ensure that a trained professional inspects vehicles to determine if they are working properly.

While Driving:

Helpful Resources:

https://www.osha.gov/winter-weather/hazards

https://www.nhtsa.gov/winter-driving-tips

https://www.nsc.org/community-safety/safety-topics/seasonal-safety/winter-safety/driving?

https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/weather/weather_events/snow_ice.htm

For more information on this topic, contact your CIRMA Risk Management Consultant.

 Remember, training and education remain the most effective way to help keep you safe and avoid losses; your organization can help. Learn at your own pace and when and where you choose with CIRMA’s e-learning resources, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you haven’t taken advantage of the many benefits available through CIRMA’s e-Learning platform, contact your local CIRMA Risk Management representative today to get started. CIRMA members and their employees enjoy access to this exclusive learning platform as part of their membership.

Public entities possess hundreds of thousands of records containing personally identifiable information on their constituents. Creating strong, unique passwords provides a crucial defense from identity theft and financial fraud for municipalities. 

Although widely known as the first line of defense in avoiding cybercrime, passwords have long been firmly established as the weakest link in public entity cybersecurity protocol. Poorly managed passwords remain the most significant and preventable threat to your public entity’s security posture due to the unfortunate reality that people continue to use weak login passwords. To make matters worse, these same passwords are often used across various devices, platforms, and websites. In these cases, by hacking one password, cybercriminals effectively open the doors to your entire digital ecosystem.

Passwords are often the only barrier between a public entity and personal information. While there are several programs that cyber threat actors use to ‘crack’ passwords, choosing strong passwords and keeping them secure can make it more difficult for bad actors to gain unauthorized access to sensitive data.

And as much as we try to convince ourselves that our passwords are impenetrable, professional hackers use tools and tactics to help unveil them in seconds. Weak password security can lead to data breaches, identity theft, and even computer hijacking, allowing criminals to access and exploit your entity’s personally identifiable records.

Are you still using your cat’s name, followed by an exclamation point, as your password? Do you use the same password for a variety of logins? If so, it’s time for a change. And when it comes to protecting yourself, your colleagues, and the community you serve, there’s no better time than the present. 

Four easy steps to becoming a Password Pro: 

  1. Keep it complicated. Consistently updating passwords containing more than ten characters, with a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols, can help significantly reduce your risk of being hacked. 
  2. Don’t make it personal. A study conducted by Morris and Thompson in 1978 demonstrated that it is easier to guess passwords through personal information (family members’ names, birthdays, home addresses, etc.) than to decipher them.
  3. Use random passphrases. A passphrase (e.g., “memo-tiger-thread-glue-button” or “Isn’t that quarterback the best in New England?”) can be easier for you to remember but more difficult to hack. The key to creating solid passphrases is randomness.  
  4. Get Creative. Consider using phonetic replacements, such as “ph” instead of “F.” Use an exclamation point (!) to replace the letters (I) or (L), or make deliberate misspellings, such as “enjin” instead of “engine.”
  5. Get password (and cyber) smart. The helpful tips above are examples of the initial steps you can take to protect yourself, your colleagues, and your community against cybercrime. CIRMA’s member-exclusive Cyber Webinar Series offers contextual scenarios and the latest information on successfully managing password security best practices. Sign in to CIRMA e-learning to access this valuable member benefit, or contact us to get started.  

Most of our professional and personal business is conducted online, and maintaining strong and secure passwords is crucial to mitigating cyber-related risks and exposures. Training and education remain the most effective defense against cybercrime, and knowing how to protect yourself and your organization is easier than ever. Learn at your own pace and when and where you choose with CIRMA’s e-learning resources, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you haven’t taken advantage of the many benefits available through CIRMA’s e-learning platform, contact your local CIRMA Risk Management representative today to get started. There is no additional charge to CIRMA members or their employees for this service. 

Check out CIRMA’s Cyber Center to learn how CIRMA can help your organization prevent and manage cyber exposures.

Cyber Resources Created for CIRMA Members:

The home office has become a coveted commodity. Unfortunately, not all homes offer dedicated office spaces. Because of this, kitchen counters, dining tables, living rooms, or bedroom spaces are doubling as home offices.

CIRMA’s latest whitepaper, Creating a Home Work Environment That Works for You, identifies best practices for employees working from home who face the dilemma of creating a workstation that allows them to be productive and incorporate proper ergonomics. In this whitepaper, we share achievable and straightforward guidance to help you maximize comfort and reduce risks while working from home.

Adopting healthy behaviors outlined in this helpful resource and knowing what to look for when choosing the right space for you can improve your overall well-being and maximize productivity while working remotely.

Creating a home workspace does not require extraordinary upgrades to your home or even purchasing fancy office equipment. Setting up a workspace with basic ergonomic strategies in mind is beneficial in many ways, including promoting productivity and focus and helping to avoid discomfort and social isolation.

Helpful Resources for CIRMA Members:

Take me to the full whitepaper

Download CIRMA’s latest Workplace Safety Works Ergonomics poster