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Plumbers unite for World Plumbing Day

World Plumbing Day is more than just an annual event highlighting the global water and sanitation crisis, it’s also a day to celebrate the role that plumbing and plumbers play in safeguarding public health. Taking place on the 11 March each year, World Plumbing Day shines the spotlight on great plumbers and the amazing job they do to keep us healthy and safe in our everyday lives.

Here in the UK, it is easy to take our accessibility to water for granted. Think about it, when was the last time you worried about having safe water to use, or that your sanitation system would do its job to stop you from getting ill? Unless you have been caught up in a severe weather incident or visiting developing countries, it’s likely you’ve never really worried about these things.

Normally, on World Plumbing Day, the CIPHE would shine a light on the issues facing third world countries and highlight the appalling statistics of the global water and sanitation crisis (you can find all these details here at http://www.worldplumbingday.org/facts-sheets.html) However this year we are looking closer to home. It’s easy for us to take safe water for granted, but did you know that in the UK people are seriously injured or even killed each year from unsafe plumbing systems?

Scalding incidents claim victims of any age, gender or background. The young and the old are especially vulnerable due to their thinner skin, as are those with specific needs, who may not be able to vocalize when they are being scalded. In the UK on average 14 toddlers a day are admitted to a specialist burns service due to a scalding incident – many of those due to burns received while bathing.

The sad fact is that these incidents are preventable. Professional, knowledgeable plumbers, such as CIPHE members, can fit Thermostatic Mixing Valves (TMVs) to water outlets such as showers and taps to help prevent scalds. Thermostatic mixing valves (TMV) blend the hot and cold water to a ‘safe’, controlled temperature at the tap or shower head, ensuring you can bathe or shower at a safe temperature. However, a plumber’s job doesn’t stop there, TMVs are not ‘fit and forget’ devises and should be regularly maintained by a professional as part of an annual plumbing system health-check.

However, scalding is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to preventable plumbing problems.  Each year, we hear the sad story of a deadly Legionnaires Disease out-break, usually connected to a plumbing system, air conditioning system or cooling tower. Then there’s the danger from poorly installed appliances - incorrectly installed unvented hot water cylinders can be deadly.

Add this to the environmental damage and health implications cased by misconnected pipes - when wastewater which should discharge into the foul (wastewater) sewer and taken to a treatment works, instead gets discharged into surface water sewers, which flow into local rivers and streams – and the true worth of professional plumbers and good plumbing systems is apparent.

While World Plumbing Day shines the spotlight on plumbing in the world at large, it seems there is still much improvement that can be made closer to home. This is why the CIPHE has decided to use this year’s World Plumbing Day to launch its Safe Water Guide. Priced at £20 for members and £35 for non-members, the publication covers best practice for safe plumbing systems. To find out more about pre-ordering your copy contact 01708 472791 or email info@ciphe.org.uk.

So before we sign off on this week’s blog, here’s just to say happy World Plumbing Day for the 11 March. May plumbers everywhere celebrate their trade - they do more to keep the nation safe than many people will ever know.