Get Your Home Ready For Winter

High seas pounding the waterfront at Cobh during Hurricane Ophelia Picture: Denis Minihane. 

Make sure your home is ready for winter and any further storms!

As Ireland recovers from Storms Ophelia and Brian, homeowners are being urged to get their homes winter ready. Homeowners should use these events as an indication of just how prepared they are for bad weather and if necessary take the appropriate precautions. Garda Sergeant Peter Murphy of Anglesea Street station in Cork city said that while Ophelia was "an exceptional storm" winter storms are a part of life in this country and as winter is only just beginning, homes and businesses across the country need to be ready for them. We could have another orange or red warning event next week so people should in no way become complacent where the weather is concerned.

Sergeant Murphy went on to state that homes & businesses should review how well they are stocked and consider stockpiling extra supplies where they deem necessary. A particular emphasis should be placed on essentials such as torches, batteries, candles, power packs for phones and most importantly drinking water. Across the country more than 450,000 homes and businesses were left without power as a result of Ophelia. 6,000 of those homes were still without power a week after the storm, most of which were located on the South West coast, the area worst affected by the storm.

Jonathan Hehir, Managing Director of, reiterated the claims that people should make sure they are winter ready; "Even if you emerged relatively unscathed, you should bear in mind that the bad weather is not over. A word of caution to homeowners is that while they may have escaped any negative repercussions from Ophelia - that doesn't necessarily mean they are no longer at risk. We want to share some helpful tips that, if taken on board, could end up protecting homes across the country and saving people from both financial headaches and heartaches along the way". 

To protect against flooding, homeowners should ensure external walls and windows are adequately water resistant - there are various products, sealants and varnishes. If you live in a flood risk area during risky periods then it might be a good idea to keep more expensive personal items high above ground level as possible. To prepare houses for freezing temperatures, make sure water pipes and water tanks are insulated with good quality lagging. Know where the stopcock is located and make sure it works. If pipes burst or begin to show signs of bursting turn off the water at the stopcock, switch off the central heating or any other water heating applications then open all taps to drain.

It is also worth remembering to keep your gutters clean "Full gutters increase your chance of having ice form on your roof and that's not something you want to mess with set some time to clean out your gutters before freezing temperatures get here" Jonathan went on to add. 

We would also advise people to consider how they communicated throughout the recent spate of bad weather. Did your communication plan work even after power went out? Were there any gaps or was anyone left uncontactable? These are all very pertinent questions as people should remember how they fared in similar situations and in turn use that as a guide to plan for future events. This would also be relevant for businesses across the country as they may need to make snap decisions and alert staff at short notice to stay home. Local media, newspapers and radio mostly proved very helpful when checking the status. Social media sites and particularly Twitter also proved highly useful during recent events. Alerts could be shared and re-shared very rapidly concerning things like road closures, power outages and emergency contact numbers. This proved very useful for people as they could simply check Twitter feeds as opposed to waiting for an alert from local radios.

Source: The Evening Echo


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