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Useful advice to protect your
Scout buildings and reduce the
risk of accidents in bad weather.
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Be prepared for bad weather

Protect your Scout property and reducing the risk loss or disruption

Nobody wants to turn up for their weekly Scout meeting to find they cannot use their Scout hut because it has been damaged due to the weather conditions.

Here are some useful tips to help protect your Scout Property and Equipment and help reduce the risk of accidents.

  1. Building Maintenance and Safety Considerations
  2. Burst pipes

Building Maintenance and Safety Considerations

Simple protective measures which if undertaken regularly, can save a great deal of time and trouble later by avoiding expensive repair or replacement costs.

Keep gutters, gullies and drains clear

Check your valleys, gutters, hoppers and downpipes for blockages regularly so that they can carry water away quickly and efficiently. If they are not maintained, blockages will occur and the accumulation of water will eventually cause damage. Additionally, if a downpipe is blocked, any trapped rainwater may crack or shatter the downpipe if it freezes. Look out for signs of soil being washed away at ground level or splashes of soil at the base of walls, as these could mean that water is not being caught by the gutter.

Keep an eye on your roof

Loose or missing slates and tiles may mean that water is getting into the roof. Arranging for a professional to replace a loose or missing slate or tile is much cheaper than repairing or replacing roof timbers.

Clear pathways

Ensure that entry and exit routes are kept free of anything that may cause a person to slip. For example by clearing and gritting paths. If it has been snowing, common sense dictates that it might be slippery outside but it doesn’t hurt to remind everyone, young and old, to be careful.

It is not necessary to ensure that each and every available path is immediately cleared, as long as there is at least one safe route available to access the building.

When the snow and ice has cleared you may be left with small cracks and pot holes in your paths or car parks which over time can become substantial and trip hazards. You should regularly check for defects and take appropriate action at the earliest possible opportunity to reduce the risk of injury to visitors of your premises.

Make sure you have suitable lighting

Make sure that the lighting around your building is suitable and functioning. Every year Unity receives claims where people have fallen because of insufficient or defective lighting when entering or exiting a building. During the winter months or when your premises are in use after dark turn the outside lights on as the first thing you do. If your lights are on a timer, check that it is set correctly.

Burst pipes

Each winter Unity handles claims due to damage caused by burst water pipes. The cost and inconvenience caused can be considerable. Just a small fracture can release gallons of water, damaging masonry, plaster, carpets and other contents or your equipment.

Preventing burst water pipes.

The chance of suffering these losses can be reduced by following a few simple steps.

  • Make sure the boiler and heating system is serviced regularly.
  • Check that the thermostat is working correctly
  • Make sure you know where to turn off the water supply
  • Check the insulation on your water pipes and cold water tank - those in the attic or other vulnerable spaces should be lagged or similarly protected
  • Make sure any external taps are turned off and disconnect any hoses.

If the property is unoccupied

  • Keep your property heated to reduce the chance of a pipe freezing. If it is a particularly prolonged and exceptionally cold spell the heat may need to be increased accordingly.
  • If the premises will be unoccupied for some time, drain down and shut off your water system.

What to do if you discover your pipes have frozen

If you discover a frozen pipe, don’t wait for it to burst.

Turn off your water supply and then slowly thaw the affected pipe by allowing the property to reach its normal ambient air temperature. Do not attempt to thaw the pipe with a blow torch, other open flame, or subjecting the frozen pipes to a sudden burst of heat.

If a pipe does burst, turn off the water supply at the stopcock and try to catch any excess water in a bucket or other container.

Do not use any electrics if you believe these may have been affected by the escaping water. You will need to have these checked by a professional electrician.

Insurance Requirements

During the winter months it is a requirement with any insurer that water pipes are lagged to protect against freezing.

If the buildings are left unoccupied for more than a week the water is turned off at the mains or the water drained from the building as far as possible or, by keeping the buildings at a minimum of 13 degrees Celsius / 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Check your buildings insurance policy terms and conditions now, rather than when you need to make a claim.

Are you adequately insured, should you need to make a claim?

The value of insurance is never fully appreciated until you have to make a claim. Make sure you have the right cover for your Scout Group, by reading our advice on Buildings insurance page.

Further Information

For other information, visit the Safe premises and campsites page on the Member resources part of The Scout Association web site or please contact
Unity (Scout Insurance Services)
on 0345 040 7703.


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