62,000kg of rock salt, 1,700 snow shovels and 20,000 litres of screenwash at ready as Openreach engineers gear up for cold snap
PUBLISHED: 07:45 04 December 2019 | UPDATED: 10:58 04 December 2019
East of England communications engineers are bracing themselves for extreme weather over the winter period, stocking up on a host of essentials from rock salt to snow grips.
Openreach - an arm of BT which maintains the UK's telecommunications lines - says it has invested in thousands of snow shoes, snow socks for vehicle tyres, bags of salt and litres of screenwash, after learning lessons from previous harsh winters.
Extreme weather conditions during recent years have resulted in it investing in huge amounts of winter weather equipment for its engineers, including 62,000 kilos of rock salt, 1,700 snow shovels, 3,400 ice and snow grips for footwear, 3,500 sets of snow socks for van tyres, 20,000 litres of screenwash and 20,000 de-icer sprays.
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East of England operations boss Kieran Ingram said: "It's impossible to predict what kind of winter we're going to have, but we're doing everything we can to prepare for the worst it can offer. Our engineers are out and about in all conditions, whether that's fixing and maintaining the network, or working on some of our latest full fibre builds in places like Norwich.
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"Making sure they have access to the latest winter weather kit is not only important to help them do their job, but also essential to make sure they can stay safe, particularly in snow and ice. Our network covers some of the most remote places in the region so this is something that's really important to us.
"We'd also urge anyone to alert us if they spot any damage to our network, like dangling cables or broken poles, so we can crack on with repairs. When mother nature does come calling, we'll be as ready and prepared as we can be to fight back."
Openreach said it also has a strong focus on locations which have proved susceptible to storms and wild weather in recent winters, strategically placing a fleet of 4x4 vehicles around the UK to reach isolated and extremely rural communities quickly.
The winter readiness plans are being supported by a record level of recruitment, with around 3,200 people employed across the East of England, mostly engineers, and more in the pipeline with a drive to recruit a further 395.
Anyone spotting any damage to the Openreach network can report it by visiting the Openreach website or calling 0800 023 2023.