We all lead such busy lives that it’s easy to forget about the basics which could make such a difference in the event of an emergency.
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The ‘Get Ready For Winter’ campaign is a national initiative to encourage everyone to plan ahead and make sure they are well prepared should Bedfordshire experience severe winter weather.
Severe weather, such as cold, snow, ice, high winds and flooding can have a huge impact on daily life and there are huge benefits to be gained by planning ahead.
The winter of 2010 was extremely harsh as snow and temperatures consistently fell below freezing, creating serious problems across Bedfordshire. Roads were often icy and public transport experienced problems and all our lives were impacted in some way.
To help everyone to stay warm, healthy and safe a series of ‘Get Ready for Winter’ tips, advice and links are available on this site to help you get ready.
National ‘Get Ready For Winter’ campaign
The Met Office is hosting the national ‘Get Ready for Winter’ web pages on behalf of HM Government and partners. These pages give some suggestions for the very practical things that individuals and communities can do to prepare for a wide range of winter weather, including cold, ice and snow, high winds and flooding, as well as identifying possible ways of saving money. They provide useful advice for communities, helping you to keep warm and healthy and protect your home. You can find this information at the ‘Get Ready for Winter’ web pages.
Driving – Out and About
Driving conditions during the Winter need special attention. Make sure you check the traffic and weather forecasts before you set out on your journey. You should also make sure you prepare an emergency kit to keep in your car. Even short journeys can turn into longer ones because of road conditions or traffic incidents.
If your area is at risk of flooding, remember that you should not drive or walk through flood water. Six inches of fast-flowing water can knock over an adult and two feet of water can move a car.
Remember the POWDERY checklist:
- PETROL (or diesel). Have you got enough? Do you know where to fill up?
- OIL - check levels once a month
- WATER - check radiator, screenwash and anti freeze levels regularly
- DAMAGE - check wipers, lights etc for signs of wear and tear or damage
- ELECTRICS - check lights, indicators and controls are working properly
- RUBBER TYRES - are they well inflated, legal, with good tread and free from damage?
- YOURSELF - are you fit to drive? Have you slept well? Are you taking any medication(s) that could make it unsafe for you to drive?
The Snow Code:
See the Met Office website for the Snow Code; advice from the Department for Transport on clearing snow and ice from pavements and other public spaces.
The weather in the United Kingdom can be difficult to predict and a lot of this is to do with the fact we sit between the Atlantic Ocean on one side and continental Europe on the other.
This means even subtle changes in wind direction can bring marked changes in the weather. Have a look at our severe weather information to make sure you are prepared for any sudden changes.
If you live in an area that could be affected by flooding then you can get regular updates on any developing situations by signing up for the Environment Agency flood warnings, download the flood warning RSS feed, follow the Environment Agency on Twitter and / or Facebook page.
Equally, burst water pipes can cause serious damage as well as waste water. Ensure your water pipes and external taps are lagged in time for the cold winter.
The Environment Agency has linked up with Public Health England and The Food Standards Agency in order to produce a leaflet on what to do before, during and after a flood - link. Cleaning up after a flood can not only be expensive and upsetting but you also need to think about the potential hazards to your health. Have a look at the NHS Choices advice on Flood: cleaning up and food hygiene.
Stay Warm and well
It is important that you keep warm to keep well during the winter months and stay healthy. Here are some of the things you should be thinking about:
- Get the flu jab; if you are over 65, pregnant, have certain medical conditions, live in a residential or nursing home, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person
- Set your heating to 18-21 °C, 65-70 °F to keep your home warm. Keep your windows closed
- Look after yourself and check on vulnerable relatives or neighbours
- If going out put layers of clothes on to keep warm and wear shoes with good grip if you need to go outside
- Food is a vital source of energy, which helps to keep your body warm. Try to make sure that you have hot meals and drinks regularly throughout the day and keep active in the home if you can
- Get your home ready for winter. Get heating and cooking appliances checked, flues and chimneys swept ensuring ventilation points are not blocked. If you use heating oil, LPG or wood products as the main heating source, make sure that you have a sufficient supply to avoid running. Fit an audible carbon monoxide alarm which is EN50291 compliant, but fitting an alarm should not replace regular maintenance of appliances
- Good hand hygiene can help prevent the spread of norovirus
- Check the forecast and ensure you have enough food and medicines
See the Met Office website for more information on how to protect your home from the winter including advice on keeping the heat in and tops on reducing your energy costs.
Help From Utilities
If an emergency involving the failure of a utility like gas, water or electricity occurs, then you may be entitled to a priority service such as, bottled water. Each service is different but all are ‘OPT IN’ services and you have to register for them.
Visit our priority services page for links to see if you are eligible to receive these services.
Finally, don’t forget that during bad weather it is particularly important that we work together as a community. Remember to check on any neighbours or relatives who are elderly or unwell and see if they need anything. This can be particularly important if the individual is unable to leave their home. You can also be involved in preparing your community for incidents; find out more here.
Keep up to date with local events and winter heath guidance with BLLRF.
Our website will be regularly updated with news, information and advice for residents and businesses in Bedfordshire and Luton.
- EA, PHE and DSA Flooding advice
Adobe PDF document, 5 MB
- What would you do if? Twitter account
- What would you do if? Facebook account
- What would you do if? You-Tube account
- Press articles
- Create an emergency car kit
- Prepare your family
- Prepare your community
- Met Office - Get Ready for Winter
- Seasonal advice
- NHS Choices: Flood - cleaning up and food hygiene advice