Like it or not, winter is fast approaching. Every business and public space needs to make preparations for the deteriorating weather – and that includes all school and college sites. Here is our quick guide to some preparations you can make to ensure that your school is as safe as it can be in the colder climate.
Check your heating
If you haven’t run your heating system in months, now is the time to give it a test run. If it breaks down in the middle of the cold snap it could force your school to close for a day or two while it gets fixed – something parents and staff won’t be too pleased about. Make sure that not only is your boiler working, but that your pipes and radiators are all leak-free and functioning as they should.
Check your grit
Schools with concrete playgrounds, outdoor pathways and private car parking all need to make sure that snow and ice is removed as quickly as possible – or that it isn’t given a chance to settle in the first place. You can use de-icing grit and salt both proactively and reactively – if the weather forecasters are suggesting that there will be ice or snow overnight then spread a layer of grit and salt over your road and pathways before you go home. If these weather conditions take you by surprise, then you can spread the products over the surfaces first thing in the morning to start melting the snow and clearing the ice.
One of the great things about grit and salt is that it doesn’t lose its potency – as long as you keep it stored in a decent quality grit bin you can stock up well in advance of any sudden rushes or inevitable shortages.
Grit can be spread easily and quickly with a grit spreader – basically a hopper on wheels. For smaller sites, use a push-along version, or if your school has larger grounds and car parks you might benefit from a tow-along spreader – they can usually be hitched up to your ride-on lawnmower and let you cover larger areas with little effort.
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Wetter weather (and melted snow or ice) can easily make its way into your buildings – particularly considering the high levels of pedestrian traffic in most schools. Use a well thought-out matting system to tackle this.
Outdoors, use a heavy-duty rubber mat to scrape the bigger bits of dirt from the shoes that pass over it (fallen leaves, mud, etc).
Immediately inside the door you’ll want a combination of scraping and absorbing, so a thick, textured mat that can both knock off any remaining dirt and also soak up some of the liquid.
Next to this, finish up with a super-absorbent mat to take the rest of the rain, snow or ice water that remains. If this is not possible due to budget or space constraints, the mat just inside the door that combines absorbing and scraping properties will suffice.
Using a good quality mat can help to reduce dirt and water from getting tracked throughout your school, which not only looks unsightly, but is a considerable health and safety risk.
Author Bio: First Mats started life as safety matting specialists, but have since expanded to become a complete industrial and commercial supplies company. The focus of First Mats is to provide safety-focused products that improve the wellbeing of staff through quality approved products, backed up by extensive knowledge. www.firstmats.co.uk