London Fire Brigade warns to check pipes over Christmas

People leaving home for Christmas have been warned to check their pipes which could be at risk of freezing and bursting.

London Fire Brigade (LFB) said there was a direct link between temperatures dropping below zero and an increase in the number of flooding incidents.

The service said the most common cause was pipes freezing, which caused water to expand and pipes to burst.

Last winter, London fire crews dealt with 2,600 floods in people's homes.

On 18 December when the average temperature across the country hit -1C, firefighters were attending, on average, one flooded house every 12 minutes, London Fire Brigade said.

'Ready to respond'

Jim Knighton, LFB's assistant commissioner for operational procedures, said as many people would be leaving their homes to visit family, people needed to make sure their pipes were in good shape.

"Frozen pipes can cause devastating damage to people's properties and possessions," he said.

"Our firefighters are ready to respond to any flooding call outs we get but by that stage it's often too late and the damage has been done."

The brigade has four specialist flood response kits, each of which contains rigid flood rescue boats and paddles and rigid floating pontoons, which can be used to make bridges and walkways to rescue people.

Six high volume pumps, which can be used to pump large amounts of water away from flooded areas, are stationed at strategic locations across the city.

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