Staying safe this winter: 10 top tips
Now that colder nights, icy conditions and darker mornings become part of our days, it's important to consider making preparations to stay safe and enjoy the changing seasons.
There are lots of simple tasks we can all take to keep ourselves and loved ones healthy and safe this winter. From stocking up on warm clothing and slip-resistance shoes/slippers to checks on our heating systems and planning for power cuts, here are Abbots Care’s top ten tips for staying safe this winter which includes a list of helpful websites providing information for further reading.
1.Stay warm and comfortable at home
For those suffering from health conditions or who are over 65, cold weather can be a health risk. The NHS recommends that your home is heated to at least 18c. It also suggests keeping windows closed at night and having your boiler serviced before the cold weather arrives.
And, don’t forget to dress well, wearing plenty of layers at home to keep you warm and wrapping up well when you’re out and about. Age UK has some great advice on keeping hands and feet warm too, which you can read here.
2. Check if you’re eligible for support
You may be able to access benefits, grants and further resources to help keep your home energy efficient including winter fuel payment or the warm home discount scheme. To find out more visit Gov.uk’s advice here.
3. Keep your home safe
Keeping the home we live in safe and secure is very important throughout the year. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), a not-for-profit organisation helping people recognise and reduce their risk of accidents, at home, on the road, at work and at leisure has a home and garden health and safety checklist which you can read and download here.
Winter means cold and flu season which affects people in many different ways. The NHS advises that those identified at risk speak to their GP about getting the free Flu vaccination. This includes people over 50, people with certain health conditions and those caring for an elderly or disabled person. For the full list of groups at risk and to find out the latest guidance on Flu and Covid-19 vaccinations, please visit Flu vaccine – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
5. Check your car is winter ready
Checking your car before the winter season kicks in can often get overlooked during the busy period. But having a few simple checks in place, for example checking tyres, windscreen wipers and keeping a basic winter car kit, can help you stay one step ahead and avoid unnecessary inconvenience, or worse, accidents.
The Met Office and RAC have 6 simple checks you can take to prepare your vehicle, which you can read more about here.
6. Stay connected
Our family, friends or neighbours may need extra support over the winter months. Keeping in touch regularly to offer practical help or ensure they feel connected can make a huge difference. You could help them keep their food supplies stocked, encourage suitable warm clothing and footwear or offer regular companionship.
7. Prepare for power cuts
In the event of a power cut, it’s a good idea to have a plan in place to prepare and deal with the situation. Simple precautions include keeping a torch with spare batteries, taking care if using candles and dressing warmly with layers and having blankets to hand.
For the vulnerable or isolated, where power cuts are more than just an inconvenience, it’s particularly important to know what’s available to you and how to keep essential equipment working.
For example, if you or someone you care for is elderly or has a disability, you can join the Priority Services Register – a free service provided by water and power services for those who need to keep medical or mobility equipment running. This will be organised by the Distribution Network Operator (DNO) that covers your area.
You can find details for your DNO on the lookup tool here. You can also call free on 105 (no matter who your provider is) – which will put you through to the local people who can help during a power cut.
Planning – The Met Office has some practical tips for all on how to prepare for power cuts which you can read here.
Support from energy suppliers – The Citizens Advice Bureau has some further reading and information on how to access priority services here.
8. Keep emergency supplies
Here are some ideas for a winter supply kit to have at home in case of an emergency.
- Torch with extra batteries
- Water bottles
- Hand warmers
- Mobile phone power bank
- Manual can opener
- Battery-powered (or hand-cranked) radio
- First-aid kit
9. Eat well
During the winter months, we naturally spend more time indoors and, for some, this may lead to less variety in our diets. It’s important to eat a good range of foods to provide the essential nutrients and vitamins we all need to thrive.
Also, hot meals and warm drinks throughout the day can also help us stay warm and well-hydrated.
The British Heart Foundation has put together some good advice on eating well throughout the winter, which you can read more about here.
10. Plan medications
If you or a loved one rely on medication, it’s important to consider what to do in the event of harsh weather or other conditions that make it harder to collect them. This may mean registering and organising a delivery from your pharmacy, if you don’t already have this in place.
You may also consider stocking up on any essential first aid or regular over-the-counter remedies to have in the house just in case.
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