Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service responds to 999 calls where there is a hazard from flood water affecting the electricity supply or where vulnerable people are at risk, but it cannot fix burst pipes.
Community safety manager Chris Bailey said: “With an increasing demand for help during snowy and icy periods, it’s essential that residents only call us when there is a genuine risk to life.
“We strongly recommend residents know where to locate and how to isolate their water and electrical supplies so that we don’t divert valuable resources from our primary functions - fighting fires and responding to collisions and other life-threatening emergencies."
Residents who are experiencing burst pipes or electrical problems caused by winter weather are advised to isolate their water or electrical supply where possible and to contact a local trader to fix the leak.
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 water heating system then drain it by running all the hot taps.
- Turn off the electricity.
- Call in the professionals to repair the damage.
To prevent a burst pipe from ruining your home this winter, HomeServe offers the following advice:
- Insulate your loft and the sides of your water tanks.
- Insulate all your pipes.
- Open the loft trap door on cold days to let heat in.
- If you're planning to be away for a while, ask a friend or relative to check on your home and make sure pipes haven't burst or frozen.
- Replace the washers on dripping taps because if they freeze they'll block the pipe.
- Make sure you know where your stop tap is and check regularly that you can turn it off easily in an emergency.
- In very cold weather, keep your heating on low throughout the day, or set to come on a couple of times a day, especially if you're going away.