It will not have escaped many people’s notice that the onset of winter in the UK has brought with it several bouts of high winds, heavy rain and even a handful of named storms. Storm damage is no joke; it can be costly and time-consuming to put right again. The treacherous weather can also be dangerous for anyone exposed to it directly or who are put at risk by unsafe conditions after the storm is over.
Winter is just getting started, so here are some key areas to cover when planning for the doubtless inevitable arrival of the next seasonal storm.
Forewarned is forearmed
Always keep an eye on the TV, radio or internet weather forecast, as this will be the most effective way of finding out when a storm is due. If the storm is going to be particularly big, there will also be stories about it on the news. Watch out, too, for advice on what to do if your care home is going to be in an area that is particularly vulnerable to storm damage. Let your residents know that you have seen a storm forecast, so that they can take precautions too or change any plans involving going outside if necessary
Take early precautions
Even before you hear about a storm coming, it is wise to check your care home regularly to make sure it is as secure as possible Repair any loose tiles on the roof, check the windows and doors for draughts, mend loose guttering and check that satellite dishes, television aerials and other exterior items are firmly secured in place. When winter rolls around, put away garden furniture, plant pots, bins and anything else that a strong wind could lift off the ground and damage. Park vehicles in a garage or under cover wherever possible.
Storm damage comes with a lot pf paperwork, not least insurance claims and quote for repair work. Using Care Vision’s care management software can help with this onerous task. The budgeting tools helps care home managers keep an eye on the money available for upgrades and repairs, while the procurement function helps find the most suitable tradespeople and suppliers for the work. You can also set reminders for when insurance policies come up for renewal, for example, so that you will never miss a payment or renewal form again.
Fences and grounds
Make sure that all fence panels, railings, gates etc. are firmly in place with no gaps, loose sections or damage. These can come loose in heavy winds and fly around, causing damage elsewhere too, or even injury if they hit someone who is still outside. Check your grounds for loose items too, and put as much away under cover in a shed or garage as possible. This can include plants in pots, garden ornaments, bird tables and bird baths, tables, chairs and benches. The fewer movable items left outside, the less likely it will be that there will be storm damage to deal with after the weather improves again.
Plants and trees
Cut down any loose or overhanging branches well in advance of a storm arriving. These can break off and damage buildings and injure people and pets. This is especially important if there are any big branches close to windows or power lines. Clear gutters of any plants or moss to allow water to drain properly. Bring any delicate plants inside and make sure that any greenhouses or outhouses in the grounds are well secured. Keep any animals indoors too, as they may break loose and run into falling branches or flying garden debris.
When there is a storm forecast, make sure you are prepared well in advance to keep your staff and residents safe and happy. Do all shopping required beforehand – staff should only venture outside during the storm if it is absolutely necessary. The same goes for getting into and from work, especially if people are driving. They should only do so if it is safe. Residents should be urged to stay indoors to stay safe and warm. Make sure you have emergency back-up plans in place for heating, water, lighting etc. in case your main energy sources are damaged.