With temperatures dropping it is important to think about how to look after ourselves and other in cold weather. For those of us who venture out, staying safe in cold weather means allowing extra time for any journeys, driving safely and slowly, wearing appropriate warm clothing including outdoor footwear with good grips.
Please watch this video about why staying safe in cold weather is an important issue for elderly or vulnerable people.
Staying safe in cold weather
Keep the warmth in by:
- Fitting draught proofing to seal any gaps around windows and doors.
- Making sure you have loft insulation. And if you have cavity walls, make sure they are insulated too.
- Insulate your hot water cylinder and pipes.
- Draw your curtains at dusk to help keep heat generated inside your rooms.
- Make sure your radiators are not obstructed by furniture or curtains.
- Heating homes to at least 18°C (65F) is particularly important for people 65 years and over or with pre-existing medical conditions;
- Make sure you are using sufficient bedding, clothing and thermal blankets or heating aids as appropriate.
- Keep your home well ventilated to help prevent condensation and damp.
- Use your electric blanket as instructed but don’t use a hot water bottle with it as it could be dangerous.
- Don’t use a gas cooker or oven to heat your home; there is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Make sure you have a supply of heating oil or LPG or sold fuel if you are not on mains gas or electricity.
Look after yourself
- Food is a vital source of energy and helps to keep your body warm so have plenty of hot food and drinks.
- Aim to include five daily portions of fruit and vegetables. Tinned and frozen vegetables count toward your five a day.
- Stock up on tinned and frozen foods so you don’t have to go out too much when it’s cold or icy.
- Exercise is good for you all year round and it can keep you warm in winter.
- If possible, try to move around at least once an hour. But remember to speak to your GP before starting any exercise plans.
- Wear lots of thin layers – clothes made from cotton, wool or fleecy fibres are particularly good and maintain body heat.
- Wear good-fitting slippers with a good grip indoors and shoes with a good grip outside to prevent trips, slips and falls.
- Make sure you have spare medication in case you are unable to go out.
- Check with Ofgem if you are eligible for inclusion on the priority services register operated by your water and power supplier.
Look after others
- Check on older neighbours or relatives, especially those living alone or who have serious illnesses to make sure they are safe, warm and well.
Get financial support
- There are grants, benefits and sources of advice to make your home more energy efficient, improve your heating or help with bills. It’s worthwhile claiming all the benefits you are entitled to before winter sets in. Visit the Which website for more info.
Get moving when it snows
- If you live on or near a hill, buy your own supply of salt from local garden centres or builders’ merchants.
- Where council salt bins are provided the salt is only intended to be used on the nearby public roads and footpaths.
- Buy a snow shovel and to use it before any snowfall compacts.
If you would like to organise a Gardiner’s Care Worker to visit and help keep you or a loved one warn and safe during the cold weather, please click here.
Staying safe in cold weather – other resources