Be prepared this winter

By: Dave Allin

30 November 2016

It’s the most wonderful day of the year. For many of us, Christmas Day, and the holiday season is a time for celebration and relaxation – a well-earned rest at the end of a hard-working year. But with thousands of workplaces closing for the festive period, and the coldest months still to come, preparing for bad weather is a necessary part of getting into the spirit. When you’re Driving Home for Christmas, there’s nothing worse than a burst pipe to scupper your Mistletoe and Wine.

(Of course, there also are those for whom this is the busiest month in the calendar. Either way, the advice here still applies to avoiding any disruption or loss of business.)

While it’s nearly impossible to properly predict what the winter will be this year, some forecasters have speculated that the UK may be plunged into an arctic wasteland with three solid months of snow to contend with, while others have advised donning shorts and t-shirt for a Christmas Day set to be one of the mildest on record. However wild the weather predictions are, it’s always best to prepare for the worst.

To avoid a Blue Christmas, Business Stream is on hand to make sure you can enjoy the festive period without worrying about what the weather might bring, and minimise the risk of any damage it might create.

Below is our 12 Days of Christmas guide which provides our top tips on being prepared for the cold weather, to help ensure this winter your focus can be on business, friends and family.

1. Know your water system: If you didn’t know Last Christmas, make sure you’re clued up this time round. If you’re faced with an emergency, knowing your organisation’s water infrastructure could make a huge difference in a crisis – if you’re not sure how to get this information your water provider will be able to help you.

2. Create a contingency plan: Santa Claus is Coming to Town, but there’s always the risk that bad weather might follow him down the chimney. Plan for the worst case scenario and prepare an easy to follow contingency plan that staff and suppliers are aware of. If you already have an existing plan, revisit it to check it’s robust enough.

3. Make sure you’re insured: If you want to enjoy a Proper Crimbo, check your cover to put your mind at ease. If your business is water damaged, your first question will probably be “Does my insurance cover this?” The answer will depend on the cause of the damage and the exact business water damage insurance and related policies that you have purchased.

4. Check your building for any signs of weakness: Check for any minor repairs which may need to be carried out before the cold weather strikes and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Although this can seem time-consuming and unnecessary, preventative repairs before any bad weather arrives will save you grief and money in the long term.

5. Keep the heating on: Leave heating on at a low temperature, and ensure heaters are well maintained and working properly, to keep you Rocking Around the Christmas Tree.

6. Secure valuable documents in a safe place: If you’re locking up for Christmas and want a Silent Night with no alarms, encourage employees to store vital documents and electronic equipment where possible in a safe and secure place, which is ideally water resilient should a pipe burst.

7. Drain and shut off your system: Drain your water system before closing for winter. If at any point freezing temperatures are forecasted, shut off supply at the stopcock to reduce the risk of internal leaks and keep Frosty the Snowman at bay.

8. Check for leaks: An undetected leak could be costing your business thousands. Our leak detection services can help you identify and rectify the problem quickly before it’s too late. You can also take a look at our tips on protecting your pipes so you can Step into Christmas with peace of mind.

9. Pick a plumber: Do They Know It’s Christmas? They most certainly do at this time of year. In an emergency, you need to know who to call. We've teamed up with SNIPEF to give you online access to a database of licensed plumbers in Scotland.

10. Check your insulation: Christmas wrapping isn’t just for presents - keep things airtight at work this year and you’ll be sorted. Check your loft insulation is in good condition, lag exposed pipes and insulate water meters to safeguard against extreme temperatures.

11. Prepare for the worst, and know how to cope with a White Christmas or even a winter emergency. Follow the steps in our online emergency guide to keep ahead of the weather.

12. Be contactable: Make sure your company’s contact details are up to date and accessible to anyone who might need them over the Christmas period. Similarly, make sure colleagues have emergency contact details of plumbers and senior staff to alert in the case of any problem. If you’re this well prepared, you’ll certainly be saying “I Wish it could be Christmas Everyday”.

Here’s to a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hogmanay, and an uneventful festive period – at least as far as water is concerned!

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