Why winter gritting and snow clearance is essential for the education sector
Millions of people across the UK rely upon our educational establishments to remaining open, especially during the winter months.
The biggest risk to educational establishments during winter, outside of a global pandemic, is snow and ice, which can cause access problems leading to school closures.
An average snow day in the UK can see over 5,000 educational establishments close due to access issues, the adverse effect this has can be phenomenal as shops do not close nor do office blocks or the emergency services.
The Federation of small businesses says over 40% have to close due to heavy snowfall, many for at least five days at a cost of £5,000 to the business.
So what can these establishments do to minimise the risk of closure?
It’s all in the preparation. Drainage is key to clearing snow and ice, not only will puddles freeze and cause icy surfaces but as both melt an increased amount of water will be present on site, ensuring this water has somewhere to go and your drains are not blocked by leaves or pipes beneath the surface are damaged is critical to prevent ponding, where water sits on a surface creating a pond affect above the surface.
The needs of sites will vary, but inspections and cleaning of drains should be undertaken at least once a year. A recommendation is that this is done around October time to remove leaves and debris that have been washed into drains and to ensure the drainage system can run at full capacity over winter. Ideally, that process should be repeated in March to cope with the build-up over winter.
Planning for winter should be well underway months in advance. Yet worryingly, many organisations approach winter in a poor state of readiness. Taking a proactive and fully managed approach to winter maintenance is key to continuity, last year the winter conditions proved to be an insurmountable challenge for many other winter service providers, who were stretched beyond their capacity, leaving sites dangerous and covered in snow and ice.
Whether outsourcing to expert winter contractors or carrying out work in-house, your adverse weather policy should clearly communicate how your organisation will manage/take action in extreme weather situations.
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