Are you #WeatherReady this winter?

Would you know what to pack in your grab bag if you had to leave home quickly, or the essential supplies you would need if your water and power were disrupted? Thinking ahead and preparing for what the weather may bring can make a real difference at this time of year

Dec 18 2019

Winter in Winchester 2018 by Simon Protheroe

#WeatherReady is a campaign from the Met Office to help people prepare for and cope with severe weather. It encourages individuals, families and communities to think about winter preparations they can make to help them stay warm, healthy and safe as winter rolls in, and protect their homes and businesses. From getting a flu jab to thinking about alternative childcare options if school or nursery are closed, and knowing where the stop tap is – here’s the #WeatherReady checklist.

Share it with your family and neighbours – because a few small steps taken now could make a big difference the next time adverse conditions strike.

We have further sources of information and advice to support residents through the winter season.  Here’s our top ten:

  1. Cold weather can make some health problems worse, especially for the very young, vulnerable and elderly people and those with respiratory diseases, asthma, depression, heart disease or stroke.  See advice on keeping your home warm in winter.  If you or someone you know is struggling to keep their home warm, you may be eligible for help from our Hitting the Cold Spots scheme. Call 0800 804 8601 for advice from the friendly Hampshire-based team at the Environment Centre.
  2. Get a flu jab from your GP or pharmacy to stay well this winter.  Flu is very infectious and spread by germs from coughs and sneezes. Flu can be more severe for certain vulnerable groups including over 65s and those with health conditions and you may be eligible for the free flu jab .
  3. A sudden emergency may mean that your home loses power, leaving you without electricity for hours, or even days, or forcing you to leave your home in a hurry. Our Emergency Planning team have lots of helpful advice on how you can prepare yourself for possible risks before an emergency takes place to reduce the impact on your home and family, including an emergency pack and evacuation checklist.
  4. If you are not sure who you can trust when you need to find someone to service a boiler, or fix storm damage, our Buy With Confidence directory can help. All the businesses in the scheme are vetted and approved by Hampshire Trading Standards to ensure they operate in a legal, honest and fair way.
  5. Hampshire Highways teams are on 24/7 standby until the end of April to deal with winter conditions. They normally treat roads with salt before temperatures drop to freezing to try to stop frost and ice forming. Main roads will always be treated first.These ‘Priority one’ routes cover about one third of the county road network but carry the majority of Hampshire’s traffic; covering A roads, some B roads, major bus routes, roads to hospitals and other key emergency hubs, large schools and colleges, areas of high traffic concentration and public transport interchanges.During prolonged severe weather, ‘Priority two’ routes, which include the rest of the B roads and single access roads to villages, may also be treated. See our salting maps and follow our ‘gritter twitter’ @HantsHighways to find out when and where our salting lorries are going out.
  6. When adverse weather brings traffic disruption, you can keep up to date with live traffic information by following our @ROMANSE on Twitter. The traffic and travel centre gathers information on what’s happening on the network to provide accurate, timely travel information to help you make informed decisions about your journeys.
  7. We’ve provided more than 3,000 blue or yellow bins filled with salt and/or grit for use by the community on public roads and pavements across Hampshire. Find out where the bins are, how to get them topped up, or how to report a damaged or missing grit bin.
  8. Adverse weather can leave some people feeling cut off and more isolated. Keep them in mind and spend a few minutes each day to check on older friends, family and neighbours, either by phone or in person. If you notice any unusual activity (or inactivity) inform a family member immediately. If you’re worried about an elderly neighbour or relative, call our Adults’ Health and Care team on 0300 555 1386, during the week in working hours (8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Thursday, 8.30am to 4.30pm Friday), or call 0300 555 1373 out of hours and on weekends and Bank Holidays.
  9. During the cold winter months, and the issues that brings, the work of volunteers in the community becomes more important than ever as more people need help. Volunteering makes a positive impact in your community, and can bring many benefits for you, such as teaching new skills and meeting new people. Find where you can volunteer.
  10. Speak with your local pharmacy team about minor health concerns you may have before they get worse. They can help with clinical advice for all sorts of illnesses, and if your symptoms suggest it’s something more serious, they can make sure you get the help you need from a doctor or at a hospital. Most people live within easy reach of a pharmacy, and with many now offering longer opening hours, it’s easier to get the help and advice you need, without booking an appointment  Find a local pharmacy that is open near you.

Image winter in Winchester 2018 by Simon Protheroe