Crikey, the pipe’s burst! (Your December Hot Tips)

Household disasters and emergencies are unwelcome at the best of times, but as winter really begins to set in, it’s more important than ever that we are prepared for everything life has to throw at us, says Rebecca Gordon.

In this month’s Hot Tips we’re looking at how to ensure you are ready for any unwanted surprises, from burst pipes to extreme weather. 

Firstly, an emergency kit is essential for dealing with any power failures, and should include a torch and batteries, a portable radio, first aid supplies and emergency numbers. If you have a mobile phone, keep it charged and close to you.

Below are some more tips for staying prepared throughout the winter months and beyond.

Radio and television

To make sure you keep up-to-date with the weather, which can often cause issues, stay tuned in to local stations for forecasts.

Room temperature

You might not realise how cold your room is, especially if you’ve been out all day. It is important to check and maintain a warm heat at all times. One way of doing this is by purchasing a cold alarm to alert you if the room becomes dangerously cold.

Food and drink

It is essential to keep your store cupboard well stocked, especially with bottled water and canned drinks and food, in case you are unable to go out.

Burst pipes

In case of an emergency, it is important to know where to find the stop valve that controls your water, and that you know how to shut it off in the case of a burst water pipe. If you are unable to do this, ask a friend, neighbour or family member for help.


Keep a number for your council or local Care and Repair close at hand. Your council should have a plan in place for helping older people in severe weather, while Care and Repair can supply details of reputable contractors and can speed up repairs for those in an emergency.

Vera Forsyth, 79, from Dunfermline, said: “I’m quite well prepared for emergencies – I know where my torch and first aid kit is, and have the numbers for all my family and friends.

“I also make sure I’m stocked-up on supplies and keep track of the weather on the radio everyday.

“However, I’m not entirely sure what I would do in the case of a burst water pipe, so think that’s something I’ll have to find out.”

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