Winter Safety Tips for Your Home and Business

Winter Safety tips

With heavy rainfall alerts issued across KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and the Eastern Cape, coupled with significant damage to property, vehicles, and roads caused by recent tornadoes in northern KwaZulu-Natal, it’s evident how natural disasters can profoundly affect homes, buildings, and infrastructure. These events underscore the importance of thorough winter preparation to minimise risks and safeguard your home and business. Here, we present crucial winter safety guidelines customised for South African readers.

The Risk of Rain

South African winters often bring heavy rains, particularly in regions around the Cape Peninsula. Rainwater can cause extensive damage if it seeps into homes, affecting walls, floors, and structural supports. To mitigate rain damage: 

  • Ensure proper drainage around your property prevents water from pooling near the foundation. 
  • Check for and seal any leaks in roofs, walls, and windows to prevent water ingress. 
  • Maintain your gutters and downspouts, ensuring they are clear of debris to facilitate proper water flow away from the building. 
  • Use water-resistant materials for flooring and walls in areas prone to moisture exposure. 
  • Monitor for signs of mould and mildew and address any issues promptly to protect health and property.
The Risk of Fire

As temperatures drop, fires and heaters in homes and offices increase, bringing a heightened risk of fire. According to SANews, almost 90% of all fires are due to human negligence. To minimise this Risk: 

  • Never leave fires or heaters unattended. Always ensure there are no flammable items near open heat sources. 
  • Avoid overloading electrical sockets, which can cause fires. Use power strips with built-in circuit breakers and ensure they are in good condition. 
  • Install smoke detectors in key areas and check them regularly to ensure they function correctly. 
  • Keep fire extinguishers readily accessible and ensure everyone knows how to use them.
The Risk of load shedding

Loadshedding can pose a risk to your electrical appliances due to power surges when the electricity is restored. To protect your appliances: 

  • Switch off all appliances at the plug during load shedding to prevent damage from power surges.
  • Install surge protectors on individual plug points or the home’s distribution board to safeguard against sudden electrical spikes. 
  • Keep a backup power supply for essential appliances and systems to ensure continuity during power outages.
The Risk of Burst Geysers

Colder weather can lead to burst geysers due to the expansion and contraction of the tank. To prevent this: 

  • Insulate your geyser with a geyser blanket to reduce heat loss and minimise the strain on the tank. This can also lower electricity consumption. 
  • Regularly maintain your geyser to ensure it remains in good working condition. Check for signs of wear and tear and address any issues promptly. 
  • Install a pressure control valve to manage the pressure within the geyser, reducing the Risk of bursts.
The Importance of Proper Insurance Coverage

The right insurance coverage can significantly help manage the risks associated with winter hazards. Consider the following: 

  • Review your insurance policies to ensure they cover common winter-related damages, such as burst pipes, fire, and water damage. 
  • Understand the claims process and what documentation you must provide in case of an incident. 
  • Keep an inventory of valuable items and update it regularly to ensure you can accurately report losses. 

By taking these precautions, you can protect your home and business from the potential dangers of winter, ensuring a safer and more secure season.

About RBS
Risk Benefit Solutions, better known as RBS, originated as an entrepreneurial-focused services business in 1998 and today is one of the largest fully-fledged black-owned insurance brokers in South Africa and a Level One B-BBEE contributor. Celebrating 25 years in business this year, our growth has contributed to offering clients a unique approach to risk management by positioning our skilled resources as an extension of our client’s risk management team. Our company covers various services, including Insurance Broking, Risk Management, Commercial and Corporate Risk Advisors, and Corporate Vehicle Hire Services. With its head office in Cape Town, RBS has offices in Gauteng, the Eastern Cape and globally, represented through its board membership with WING (Worldwide Insurance Network Group).