How to stay safe this winter

Published: 11/12/2017 By Empire Estates

Take care when driving

  • Tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to arrive.
  • Always charge your mobile phone fully before you set off on a journey
  • If you have to drive in bad weather, make sure you allow extra time for your journey.
  • Make sure you have warm clothes, boots, food, water, a torch and a spade in the car.
  • Be careful of slippery or wet surfaces
  • Wear boots, shoes and slippers with non-slip soles.
  • Keep a mixture of salt and sand handy to put on steps or paths in icy weather.
  • Consider fitting a grab rail if you have steps at your front or back door.

Home safety

  • Get your heating system serviced every year by a qualified professional to ensure it's running safely.
  • Make sure your smoke alarm is working. Change the batteries every 12 months.
  • You can ask your local fire service for a free safety check of your home. You may be eligible to get free smoke alarms installed.
  • Put guards on open fires, and be careful not to hang washing too close to the fire.
  • Don’t block up air vents. Fires and heaters need ventilation.
  • Test your carbon monoxide alarms. If don’t have any alarms, you need to get one fitted in each room that has a gas appliance, as there’s a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning if air vents become blocked.
  • Keep a torch handy in case you lose power and keep your radio, mobile phone, laptop or tablet fully charged, so you can use the battery power if there's no electricity.
  • Keep a list of emergency numbers, such as your utility companies, by your phone. If there is a power cut, call the 105 electricity helpline. This helpline can give you more information about when your electricity is likely to come back on.

How can I keep myself warm?
Even if it isn’t a severe winter, cold weather makes us more susceptible to certain illnesses. Follow these tips to stay healthy and keep warm indoors and out.

Keeping warm inside

  • If you’re sitting down, a shawl or blanket will provide a lot of warmth. Try to keep your feet up, as the air is cooler at ground level.
  • Wear warm clothes in bed. When it’s very cold, wear thermal underwear, bed socks and even a hat – a lot of heat is lost through your head.
    Use a hot-water bottle to warm the bed.

Keeping warm outside

  • Make sure you keep your hands and face warm. As well as wearing gloves and a hat, always wrap a scarf around your face when you go outside, even if it’s only for a short time. This helps to warm the air you breathe.
  • Several thin layers of clothing will keep you warmer than one thick layer, as the layers trap warm air. Clothes made from wool or fleecy synthetic fibres such as polyester are a better choice than cotton. Start with thermal underwear, warm tights or socks.
  • Keep your feet warm. Choose boots with non-slip soles and a warm lining, or wear thermal socks.
  • Check local news and weather forecasts for advice when cold weather is predicted.


The cold weather can affect different members of the community in different ways, some are more vulnerable to the elements than others, especially the elderly who are prone to hypothermia and pneumonia in cold weather.

To support older people during periods of heavy snow and ice please consider the following:

  • Be even more vigilant during the period of severe weather, and to keep an eye out for people who may be vulnerable.
  • Try to call in regularly on friends, neighbours and relatives to see if they need help staying warm or getting provisions.
  • Offer to clear your neighbours’ paths & check that any elderly or disabled neighbours are alright in the cold weather.