Although there is now a much greater awareness of flooding and in terms of preparation, we advocate obtaining a copy of the Environmental Agency’s “Prepare your Property for Flooding”https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/451622/LIT_4284.pdf, this blog discusses the separate peril of the escape of water from fixed pipes. The following information should be considered for inclusion in your school business continuity planning.
Of course you know where the main stop cock (the place where water enters the property) is located, but do all your staff know? In the event of an emergency, turning off the water can limit damage.
Are the buildings well-maintained? Has there been a recent inspection of the building, internally and externally, taking in to account the condition of the guttering and the down pipes. Blocked and overflowing guttering and pipes can cause their own issues, especially if the resulting overflow freezes on the ground!
Are all the water pipes and water tank(s) appropriately insulated, especially those in roof voids and lofts?
When the premises are to be unoccupied during school holidays in winter, leave the heating on at a low setting.
Do staff know what to do (other than turn off the water) in the event of a burst pipe or leak? Many organisations provide maintenance policies and will send out on-call plumber the same day. If there is no such arrangement, we would recommend you having contact details of 24 x 7 plumbers, as well as heating engineers and electricians. Ideally this information should be held in an easy to access location along with your business continuity plans.
If you have member of the public or organisations using your facilities during holidays, it is important to understand the respective responsibilities you each have. How do they report any issues they encounter to a member of your team? Who is available to assist / on call to resolve any issue that occur? Do they also hold contact numbers for the key holders in your organisation?
Our advice is to invest some time now, before it becomes really cold, on checking out the condition and insulation of the pipework. We also suggest making sure your business continuity plans are in place and you know how to implement them in the case of an emergency. As experts in this field we are always happy to help and with our cloud based incident management system (MIMS) can ensure you are ready for any incident major or minor.