Autumn 2016 has been a benign one. The warmest October for many years has meant the beautiful colours have lasted, and we’ve enjoyed blue skies, gentle winds, and little in the way of meteorological drama. But November has brought with it the first signs of winter, temperatures have dropped, there have been a few frosts, and some heavy rain. We’re reminded that winter can be delayed, but not avoided altogether!
Our workload can be unpredictable in the winter months, and we keep an eagle eye on the weather forecasts. While we’re always on hand to deal with emergencies, there’s plenty we can all do to prepare for extreme conditions. Water, snow and ice are the main protagonists at this time of year, and in this blog we look at preventing and dealing with rainfall and water issues.
Awareness of the damage that water can do is sadly increasing. Recent years have seen so many periods where flooding has affected individuals and businesses.
The biggest problem with flooding is that once the water has started coming in, the damage is already done. Early anticipation of a potential problem is the best possible plan - better safe than sorry. So for anyone who knows that flooding has been a problem in the past, or who thinks their home or premises may be under threat, set yourself up with a supply of sandbags. Apart from in the most extreme situations, protecting all external doors with sandbags prevents the water finding its way in.
Streetwise delivers sandbags on behalf of RBC. We will work 24 hours a day, and can have 20 vehicles delivering sandbags to any location within the borough. But it goes without saying that as soon as a flooding situation becomes apparent, demand is huge, and there is a limit to the number of sandbags that can be distributed. If you wait until the water is at door level to take action, by the time the sandbags are delivered, it could be too late.
The knowledge that you have your own sandbags and are master of your own destiny is incredibly reassuring. But if you haven’t adopted this belt and braces position, and need to rely on a third party, notify the Council as soon as you think there may be a problem, not when there is already a problem. Get your call in early. It sounds so obvious, but sandbags at your doors can make the difference between being flooded or not.
Another cause of water penetration is blocked gutters and drains. Preventative action that should be taken in autumn is to make sure gutters are clear, and have respect for your drains – don’t expect them to deal with fat and materials that can cause blockages.
At Streetwise we have clever and efficient kit for gutter-clearing, a service that we provide to businesses, schools, or private individuals. Annual gutter clearing is a very sensible preventative measure.
So our message is, BE PREPARED! But if you have an emergency, we offer an out of hours help line for problems due to flooding or storm damage. Between 5pm and 7am, when the office isn’t fully manned, you can contact our emergency call centre, on 0115 981 1143.
Our next blog post will be about dealing with the difficulties presented by snow and ice.
Bob Alderton, Operations Manager