Now’s the time to review winter weather plans

As the Met Office predicts cold weather for the end of January and early February,  Gloucestershire Gritting looks at some of the steps businesses can take now to get ahead of the winter weather

WE’RE past Christmas and New Year and the winter so far has been relatively mild and dry.  Our thoughts may be turning to spring and the warmer days ahead.

Here at Gloucestershire Gritting, we hate to be kill-joys.  But the Met Office has been talking about Sudden Stratospheric Warming  and reminding us that last year it brought the ‘Beast from the East’.  The forecasters are saying that, unlike last year, the warming event is happening rather slowly.  Nonetheless, they state: ‘especially during the last week of January and into early February, there is an increased risk of cold weather becoming established across all of the UK.  This would bring an enhanced risk of snow and widespread frost almost anywhere across the UK.’

Scarily, recent research from the Met Office

FLASHBACK to winter 2018: Gritting after the ploughs have cleared the snow on this Gloucestershire business park

also shows that two thirds of British people have been caught out by bad weather.  So, now is the time for businesses to combine these two pieces of information and take steps to keep their premises safe, open and productive during the second half of the winter.

Facilities managers will have already prepared their buildings and grounds for winter but now is a good time to run through a checklist and check that everything is in place for changeable weather.  Businesses will take and follow specialist advice, but things to look out for include checking the heating and ventilation systems are working optimally; filling the gaps – making sure that draughts, leaks and cracks are properly sealed, minimising heat escaping from the buildings; checking gas lines; checking roofs and making sure guttering and drains are clear and in place; potholes filled.  Standing water will quickly become an ice hazard when the weather turns cold.

And staff should be encouraged to think ahead too.  The Met Office has useful information on its Are You Weather Ready? pages. Things to think about include:

  1. Plan routes carefully to use main roads which are more likely to be gritted.
  2. Leave plenty of time, traffic is likely to be heavier and people driving more slowly.
  3. Prepare for different scenarios – consider other commuting or working arrangements for severe weather and alternative childcare or caring plans if the weather is really severe.
  4. Have your staff made sure they’ve prepared their car for winter and got a winter car kit to hand?
  5. Before they set off drivers should check their phone is charged, the car has sufficient fuel and they have water, food and warm clothing in case they get stuck. Is all ice cleared from windscreen, mirrors and windows and any snow brushed off the roof?
  6. Drive for the weather conditions, advice typically includes:
  • Drive slowly and leave a large gap in front of you and the car in front – icy roads reduce tyre grip and increase breaking distance
  • If you do skid, steer gently into it
  • Keep an eye out for potential hazards ahead as well as icy patches
  • Now’s the time for being really smooth in your gear changes, acceleration and braking and steering to minimise the risk of a skid
  • A higher gear helps grip on packed ice.
  1. Be a good neighbour – foster a community-spirit.

Finally, proactive facilities managers will be reviewing the service from their winter gritting and snow clearance provider and plugging any gaps.  Gloucestershire Gritting prides itself on its personalised service and promptly follows up any queries.  Its priority is to make sure that customers are happy with the service they provide.

John Tingey, Gloucestershire Gritting managing director, says: ‘Now is the time to review the service you’ve received so far this winter.  Check it’s helping you keep your business running smoothly and your staff, customers and visitors safe.  With rising expectation of a cold spell at the end of January, make sure your business is properly protected for the second half of the winter.’

Contact John now on 07970 946329 or email John@gloucestershiregritting.co.uk for a free, no-obligation site visit and quote.