Home emergencies – what can you do?
Accidents happen. But you can help to protect your home against some risks, particularly those involving gas, fire, electrical problems, frozen pipes or flooding water. One of the best ways to be well prepared is to take out Home Emergency Cover as part of your home insurance policy with Castle Cover. But in the interim, here are a few tips to make sure you’re doing what you can even without our 24 hour emergency helpline to support you…
Smell gas? Call the National Gas Emergency Helpline on 0800 111 999. Until an engineer arrives, open the doors and windows, turn off the gas supply at the meter and wait outside. Don’t create a flame, smoke or use electrical appliances such as the lights, cookers or kettles.
Make sure everyone knows how to get out of your house, if you suspect there’s a fire. Install reliable smoke alarms outside bedrooms, at the top of stairs and near the kitchen. Test them, regularly. Exposed wires are a fire hazard, so keep your electrics in good order too.
Getting through a power cut can be far less stressful with careful planning. A torch is handy, but only if you know where it is. Keep it somewhere that everyone can access, along with new batteries too. If there’s a power cut, turn off your appliances and leave just one light on. If you have advanced warning, boil some water and keep it in a flask so that you can still make hot drinks.
If you have flood water in or around your home, wash your hands regularly. Think of all water as being unsafe to drink, and stock up with a safe supply from local shops until you’re advised otherwise. Sterilise your kitchen equipment before you use it (airborne moisture from flood water carries bacteria), and don’t use any electrical items until an electrician has confirmed it’s safe to do so.
Frozen or Burst Pipes
To help prevent frozen pipes, turn off the main stop tap and drain the system by turning on all of your taps. If the ceiling is bulging, create a hole and place a bucket underneath. Turn off the heating system and once shut down, drain it and call a plumber. But if the worst happens, turn off the water supply, and turn off the stopcock in your cold water tank too. Make sure anything that’s frozen around the pipe is protected, and open the tap that’s closest to the frozen part of the pipe. Thaw it out using a hot water bottle or hair dryer and work back to the hot water tank.