As you are no doubt aware by now, we are expecting Storm Emma/”The Beast From The East” to pass over Ireland in the coming days bringing extremely low temperatures and the risk of heavy snowfall and gale force winds, particularly in the east of the Country.

While there is nothing we can do to prevent this severe weather event from occurring, there are some practical steps that you can take to protect your car and home from damage, and to keep you and your family safe.

For Your Home:

  1. Leave the heat on ‘constant’ to ensure a temperature of at least 5 Degrees Celsius throughout the property (including attic space).
  2. Open your attic trap door to help keep the temperature in your attic the same as in the rest of the house.
  3. Check for frozen/leaking pipes.
  4. Lagging the attic pipes can save you a lot of trouble in cold weather, but if the worst happens and you think a pipe is frozen, simply turn off the water at the main ‘stopcock’ and open all the taps. Make sure your central heating boiler is turned off. Next, gently thaw the pipe using a hairdryer or hot water bottle. If there is no leak from the pipe after thawing, you can safely turn the water on again. If it does leak, turn off the electrical supply being careful not to touch any wet electrical fittings.
  5. Check gutters, down pipes and drains – this is to ensure that as snow melts the meltwater has somewhere safe to go.
  6. Check that all air vents are clear – the vents in your home help to ensure that there is no build of carbon monoxide which can represent a lethal threat to all occupants.
  7. Cordon off areas where snow is likely to fall from the roof – protect yourself, your family and visitors from the risk of injury from falling icicles or snow.
  8. After the snow storm and once safe: – Clear snow as soon as possible. – Check the roof for signs of collapse.
  9. Prepare for loss of utilities – ensure you have batteries, torches and necessary supplies.

If your property has suffered any damage during this weather event please call your Insurer’s Home Emergency Service.

For Your Car:

  1. The best thing to do in extremely bad weather is to stay off the road. Take heed of warnings not to go out.
  2. Keep petrol/diesel tank full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines, and also to ensure you can keep your engine (and heating) running if you are stuck on the roads.
  3. Take off any snow from the roof to avoid it dropping onto the windscreen during braking, thereby causing sudden and severe restriction to your vision.
  4. Do not use hot water on the windscreen as it can crack the glass.
  5. Slow down and allow extra distance (8-10 seconds) between you and the car in front. Lack of grip can occur even on treated roads so drive slowly in the highest gear possible, manoeuvre gently and avoid harsh braking.
  6. Beware of “Black Ice”. Black Ice is one of winter’s biggest hazards as it is difficult to see. Watch out for sheltered/shaded areas on roads, under trees and near high walls.
  7. Beware of compacted snow.  As vehicles drive over fallen snow this will cause it to compact and become even more treacherous.

For advice on how to drive on ice or snow, check out this link from the Road Safety Authority  Weather Advice

Use common sense – don’t drive where you don’t have to or when you don’t have to, and slow down!

In the event of breakdown, please call your Insurer’s Breakdown service if this cover is included in your policy.  If you are involved in an accident, please call your Insurer’s Motor Emergency Service.  Please be aware that all emergency services are likely to be under increased pressure during this time.

In the event that you do need to process an insurance claim on your car or home insurance policies, our dedicated staff are here to help!

Stay Safe!

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