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Emergency Planning

Imagine the damage and distress to your daily life if the pipes in your home were to freeze and burst this winter. Help protect your home by following this simple pipe check:

Step 1. Check that your pipes have been lagged

Step 2. Check all lagging is securely fitted

Simple tips to protect your pipes this winter

Water, it’s a big part of our daily routine, and it only takes one big freeze to strike to cause a burst pipe, loss of water- and potentially costly repairs. That’s why we’ve put together some useful information to help you prepare your home for the winter weather including: simple ways to protect your pipes, guidance on pipework responsibilitiesFree Stop Valve TagWinter Advice for FarmersAdvice for Business Customers; andfour short videos which give advice on how to locate your stop valve, insulation, and what to do if a pipe freezes or pipe bursts.

All pipework within your home or business boundary is your responsibility, and spending a little time on simple frost protection now could help you avoid trouble and expense this winter. Click here to find out about your pipework responsibilities. All plumbing fittings, appliances and pipes within domestic and non-domestic premises connected to mains water must comply with plumbing law.  This law is known as The Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009 and can be downloaded free of charge from the http://www.niwater.com/water-fittings-regulations/

'How to' Videos

Avoiding Frozen Pipes

  • Insulate water tanks and pipes in unheated areas like lofts, roof spaces, garages and outbuildings. This is also applicable to non domestic premises and holiday homes likely to be unoccupied and unheated for prolonged periods of time.
  • Insulation is essential in helping to prevent water in pipes from freezing. It is also important to ensure there are no gaps in the insulation at bends, valves or fittings.
  • You can calculate how much protection the various types of insulation offer by clicking here. This calculator tool will help you determine how effective insulation will be in delaying the effects of cold weather on pipes, such as freezing. 
  • Lagging material for pipes can be purchased in DIY/Plumbing stores. It should be noted that even with lagging, extreme weather conditions can result in water in pipes freezing. Without lagging however the potential for this to happen is greatly increased.
  • Fix dripping taps – a small trickle of water can freeze and completely block the pipe.
  • Find your internal stop tap/valve. It is usually but not always located under your kitchen sink and normally closes by turning clockwise. You may want to test it is working.
  • Service your boiler regularly.
  • Make sure doors and windows from unheated parts of your property are kept closed and minimise any draughts from outside.
  • If you have tanks or pipes in the roof space, allow some warm air to circulate by opening the trap door (this should be a temporary measure ONLY, as it will cause condensation - tanks and pipes should be insulated).
  • Leave the heating on low when you are away. Leave a key with a neighbour, friend or family member who can check the house regularly.
  • Write down the contact details of an Approved Contractor (qualified plumber). NI Water recommends you use a WaterSafe Approved Plumber, search for your nearest approved plumber at WaterSafe.org.uk by entering your postcode 
  • If a property is not in use or occupied for a prolonged period of time it is advisable to turn the water supply off at the stop tap and even consider draining down the system to lessen the possibility of burst pipes going undetected causing property damage and the waste of water.

Dealing with Frozen Pipes

  • Turn off the water supply at the stop tap/valve.
  • Thaw along the pipe, starting from the end nearest the tap.
  • Don’t use a blow lamp or naked flame.
  • Put hot water bottles or a thick cloth soaked in hot water over the frozen pipe or use a hair dryer at its lowest setting to thaw pipes. Be careful not to warm them too quickly.
  • Don’t leave taps dripping or running. The water may not flush down the plug hole if the pipes below are frozen.

If a Pipe Bursts

  • Turn off the stop tap/valve.
  • Try to block escaping water with thick cloth like towels.
  • Turn on all taps to reduce flooding.
  • Call an Approved Plumber. NI Water recommends you use a WaterSafe Approved Plumber, search for your nearest approved plumber at WaterSafe.org.uk by entering your postcode or by telephoning 0333 2079030
  • Don’t forget to turn off taps once the problem is fixed to avoid the waste of water.  

Email: [email protected]
Waterline: 03457 440088
Text Phone: 03457 023206



Advice video on how to Protect your Pipes this winter



In the event of a major emergency, Derry City and Strabane District Council can help in a number of ways:

  • make buildings such as leisure and community centres available to people
  • provide health and safety advice on cleaning up after major flooding or pollution
  • assess structural damage to buildings, and
  • co-ordinate and lead multi-agency meetings to plan recovery.

Preparing for an emergency

In a major emergency, it may be some time before the emergency services can help you.

 A household emergency plan gives you a list of useful contact numbers in an emergency and also tells you what you should have in your household emergency pack.

 Keep your completed plan somewhere safe where you can easily find it in an emergency.

 For more information check the following:

What to do in an emergency

If there's an emergency, remember to:

  • stay calm, reassure others and think before acting
  • don't put yourself or others in danger
  • follow the advice of the emergency services
  • if people are injured or there is a threat to life call 999 or 112.

If there is a fire or other danger in your building, quickly and calmly leave by the nearest safe route and move to a safe location away from the building. Do not try to return until the emergency services tell you it is safe to do so.

Critical Care Registers

If you or someone in your family relies on electricity or water due to a medical condition you should sign up to the NI Electricity or NI Water critical care registers.  Examples include people on a ventilator or with a stair lift or electric hoist in their home.

NI Electricity – To find out who is eligible and how to register visit www.nie.co.uk  or by call 08457 643 643.

 NI Water – To find out who is eligible and how to register visit www.niwater.com or call Waterline on 08457 44 00 88.


In an emergency, friends, neighbours and members of the local community often work together to help each other. Derry City and Strabane District Council work with various communities to develop their own Community Resilience Plans for their area. These plans support communities to help themselves and assist responding agencies during and after an emergency event.


Employers have a responsibility for the safety and security of their staff. All businesses should have arrangements in place to deal with the impact of a major incident or disaster.

 If you require any further information on developing your own Business Continuity Plan you can contact the Council’s Emergency Planning Officer on 028 71253253.

You can find guidance on preparing your business for emergencies on the NI Business Info website.


All schools shall have plans to cope with local emergencies such as fire and flood. Make sure you find out in advance what your school’s emergency arrangements are, where you can collect you child if not at school and what arrangements they have if you cannot collect your child during the emergency.


Contact Information

For further information contact

Martin Daly

Emergency Planning Officer

98 Strand Road


Telephone: 02871 253253

Email: [email protected]