Burst pipe warning from West Sussex firefighters

With the recent freezing temperatures now rising and the icy conditions thawing, firefighters are urging residents to find out how to locate and isolate their water and electricity supplies.

West Sussex fire crews were called out to more than a dozen flooded properties as a result of burst pipes this weekend.

Although West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service will always respond to a 999 call where there is a hazard as a result of flood water affecting electrics, or where vulnerable people are at risk, they cannot fix burst pipes.

Community risk reduction officer for the fire service, Jackie Boyle, said: “We’ve seen a sudden rise in 999 calls to flooded properties following the thaw from the recent snow and ice. We would strongly recommend that people know how to locate and isolate their water and electrical supplies and to call a qualified plumber rather than 999 providing they are not in any danger. However, if electrical appliances are involved and the situation is at all risky, our advice, of course, is still to call 999.”

West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service offers the following advice to keep your home’s water supply running smoothly and to help prevent your pipes from freezing:

. Know where your stop tap is, which is usually located under the kitchen sink - this tap stops the water supply entering your home.

. Insulate all your pipes, your loft and the side of your water tanks.

. Open the loft trap door on cold days to let heat in.

. Make sure all your taps are turned off properly, especially last thing at night.

. If you are planning to go on holiday or be away for a while, ask a relative or neighbour to check on your home to ensure your pipes haven’t burst or frozen.

. In very cold weather, keep your heating on low throughout the day, or set it to come on a couple of times a day, especially if you are going away.

. Have the contact numbers for plumbers and electricians handy in case of emergency - you can find an approved trader through West Sussex County Council’s Buy with Confidence scheme. Visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/living/consumer_advice/buy_with_confidence/find_an_approved_trader.aspx

In a burst pipe emergency:

. Turn off the water at the main supply and drain the system by running all the cold taps.

. Turn off the electricity.

. Call in the professionals to repair the damage.

For further advice and information about fire safety in the home call West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service Community Risk Reduction team on 01243 642878