Have you heard about the new “worst-case scenario” game this month? Forget swimming with sharks or being chased by killer clowns, what would you do if your home was suddenly struck by atrocious weather and you lost power, heat, wi-fi and water?
It has been a cold, harsh reality for an estimated one million households who suddenly found their homes plunged into the Dark Ages following Storm Arwen, which caused devastation with gusts of up to 100mph and heavy snowstorms. Locations that are particularly badly affected include Hexham, 25 miles west of Newcastle, in the northeast of England, and Aberdeen, Moray and Angus in northeast Scotland………
Here is our survival guide to staying at home.
First things first, know the situation. Invest in a weather app on your phone or tune into a local radio station, bearing in mind that power is precious in an emergency. Should you lose utilities, and neighbours are in easy and safe distance, establish if they are in the same boat and it’s not just your own house affected, in which case it could be an isolated problem related to wiring or appliances, according to Checkatrade. Call an electrician in this scenario to determine the problem. If it’s electricity, call the National Grid on 105 (England, Scotland and Wales). Vulnerable, elderly or people who may need extra assistance can sign up to the Priority Services Register via the Energy Networks Association. The association will then contact registered customers in areas affected by a power outage to offer assistance. For water, it’s your regional supplier, the company you pay bills to. For gas, see below.
Panic. If the heating goes off, don’t be tempted to drag the barbecue or other outdoor gas appliance indoors because of the fire and carbon monoxide risk. Jonathan Rolande, co-founder of the National Association of Property Buyers, also advises careful use of candles — the emergency services will be busy enough — “and consider turning off your gas supply at the meter for safety”.
Essential survival kit for your home
“I’d recommend a bottle of Scotch and plenty of pasta,” says Mark Lawson, partner at the Buying Solution, the buying arm of Knight Frank estate agency. “Also, seriously, if you’re in the country, plenty of heating oil (keep it topped up), camping stove, spare mobile phone battery, lots of blankets and a good book.”
Rural homes, says Rolande, should also have a battery-powered and wind-up torch, canned food plus tin opener, matches, a spare charged mobile battery (if your device has a removable battery) and charger lead, space blankets, a first aid kit and, yes, a Swiss army knife. Owners of rural homes should also keep a back-up supply of fuel, logs, fire-lighting items, a camping stove and camping lanterns.
Survival kit for you and yours
If you’re asked to evacuate your home by emergency services or to escape danger such as flooding or fallen power lines, you may not be allowed back for days, even weeks. So prepare a “grab bag” and keep it by the front door. Top of the list? A credit card and a head torch for hands-free illumination, and a written list of your contacts in case your phone dies, plus any insurance paperwork.
Carol Peett, who works for West Wales Property Finders, lives in a fortified farmhouse two and a half miles from Narberth in Pembrokeshire. She recommends strong ropes and a saw (preferably a chainsaw and suitable equipment for operating one) to deal with fallen branches or trees blocking lanes and driveways, a spade in the car for digging yourself out of mud or snow, a thick coat and a Thermos of tea and biscuits in case you end up stranded.
Safety and security
If you’re ordered to evacuate, close all the windows before you leave. Extinguish all candles as this is a serious fire hazard, but leave one or two light switches on: “This way, if the power comes back on while you’re out of the house, a burglar will assume that someone is still in,” says Les Roberts of Bionic, an energy deal comparison company for businesses. However, “switch off all electrical appliances at the switch. If the power suddenly comes back on, you may leave appliances on and unattended without knowing it, which may end up causing a fire.”………
The Sunday Times – 5th December 2021 https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/how-to-prepare-your-home-for-winter-weather-bd7qhbz0h
If you are looking to move to West Wales or buy a property in Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire or Ceredigion, give West Wales Property Finders http://www.westwalespropertyfinders.co.uk a call on 01834 862816. We can find your perfect property for you whilst saving you time, stress and often money too.