Tuesday 12 December 2017

Make sure you're ready for the worst of the weather

Mr Oil – delivering best price home heating oil in Co. Wexford.
Mr Oil – delivering best price home heating oil in Co. Wexford.

IT'S coming to that time of year when we can expect the weather to take a turn for the worse at any stage. Don't be caught out. A little bit of planning and preparation now could save you a lot of misery if we do encounter a long cold snap or a prolonged deluge. Here are some useful tips to help you to be prepared.

In the home

Have a small supply of non perishable, easy-toprepare foods

Keep extra supplies of essential medication in case it is difficult to get to the pharmacy

Have an adequate supply of fuel for heating/cooking and if possible a suitable alternative should the main supply fail

Have a shovel and bag of salt to keep paths clear and safe

Have batteries for torches in the event of power cuts

Have candles and matches. Candles should always be placed away from draughts in proper candleholders. Never leave a burning candle unattended

Have a water container to ensure a supply of drinking water

Have emergency contact numbers to hand

Leave a key and contact details with neighbours or family if you are going away

Check that loft insulation is thick and in good condition

Fit your water tank with an insulation jacket or alternatively, wrap the top and sides with suitable insulation material

Repair any leaks at taps or valves

Know how to turn off the water supply (usually under the kitchen sink)

Fit draught excluders to your doors and windows

Make sure heating equipment is well-maintained, vented correctly and working properly

Ensure chimneys are cleaned at least once a year


-Move valuables and other items to safety. Place them above the flood level or upstairs

-Put sandbags at any openings where the water could gain access

-Turn off gas and electricity

-Be prepared to evacuate your home or business. Protect yourself, your family and others that need your help

-Have warm clothing and wellingtons ready

-Have medication to hand (if needed)

-Check water/food stocks

-Co-operate with emergency services and local authorities. For your safety you may be evacuated to an emergency centre -Move your car to high ground if possible

-Remember that floodwater could get into your garage so move any chemicals or fuel to ensure that they do not spill into the floodwater and cause an additional hazard

-Weigh down any manhole covers with sandbags or heavy objects. These could open during a flood and cause a hazard

-Close off the flow valves on propane tanks, oil drums, or other fuel containers that supply your home through pipes and fittings

-Unplug any exterior electrical connections such as outdoor lighting, pond pumps and filters? Don't try to walk or drive through floodwater

-If possible avoid contact with floodwater as it may be contaminated or polluted

-Take care if you have to walk through shallow water – manhole covers may have come off and there may be other underwater hazards that you cannot see

-Never try to swim through fast-flowing water – you may get swept away or struck by an object in the water

Clearing snow

-Clearing snow can be demanding work - only undertake the task if you are reasonably fit and do not have an underlying medical condition

-Clear snow or ice early in the day if possible

-Wear sturdy, insulated, waterproof footwear with good gripping soles

-Use a shovel. There are special shovels for this task but any garden shovel will do

-Make a path down the middle of the area being cleared so that you will have a clear surface to walk on

-Never use boiling water to clear snow (it may refreeze and cause the formation of black ice)

-You can prevent ice forming by spreading salt on the area that you have cleared

-When you are clearing snow it is important that you don't create an obstacle for pedestrians or traffic. Ensure that the snow is removed to a location that won't create a hazard

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