Keeping well in Winter
Winter can be such a beautiful time of year, especially in such a picturesque location as Allerdale. The colder months also bring about risks associated with the weather. The information below is to raise awareness and to provide information on how you can be prepared and keep yourself and others safe.
Cold weather brings with it bugs and viruses, many of which can be safely managed yourself.
Keep warm and well this winter by taking steps to stay healthy, and prepare for potential illness, especially if you (or your loved ones) suffer from asthma, CoPD or other illnesses where sudden drops in temperature can affect health.
Call 111 if you are concerned and want medical advice.
Flu vaccinations are available free of charge to certain groups of individuals.
More information about flu jabs and who should get one can be found on the NHS website .
Keep Well, Keep Warm - information and financial support for the winter months
More information and maintining good health during winter and the financial help available for the over 60's, low-income families and people living with a disability can be found on the government website.
Be prepared for bad weather
- If you live in a flood risk area you can monitor river levels and flood warnings online and also sign up to recieve flood alerts by text, phone or email from the government.
- Take preventative steps to protect your home and business ahead of the winter, your property is your responsibility.
- In case of bad weather or power cut, prepare a ‘grab bag’ of basic supplies including bottled water, medication, blankets, torches, batteries, key information and documents – don’t forget that your smartphone may not work in the event of a power cut.
- Prepare a Business continuity plan so your business is prepared for potential weather disruption
- Call 105 in the event of a power cut.
- Consider backup childcare plans in case of school closures
Elderly and vulnerable people
Keep an eye on elderly and vulnerable members of your community this winter: check on them in times of severe weather; discourage them from going outside when it’s icy and help them with errands/shopping if possible.
Information and support for elderly people can be found on the Age UK West Cumbria website.
Cold weather affects the health of the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions.
Snow and ice can result in slips and falls, and cold temperatures can affect circulation and breathing-related issues, which can be fatal.
Keep an eye on those who might be vulnerable and ensure they are well looked after and warm.
If you are concerned about the health of an elderly or vulnerable person call NHS 111 .
Check weather information before travel. Being informed is the best way to minimise disruption to your plans and to know if you might have to avoid travelling.
Driving in hazardous conditions can be challenging, familiarise yourself with our dedicated pages on driving in the rain, snow and ice.
Keep up to date with vehicle maintenance during the winter. Your vehicle is your responsibility. Have it serviced and check it before taking long journeys.
When travelling – by road or rail - in potentially bad weather, prepare for the unexpected by packing a survival kit should you be stranded somewhere.
Some tips to stay safe around frozen lakes and ponds:
Take care when near ice, such as when a pond or canal is frozen – the ice may look thick but don’t go on, as it won’t be, and it is highly unlikely to take your weight.
If you go through the ice your body will almost certainly go into ‘cold water shock’ making it incredibly difficult to help yourself.
Don’t let dogs go too close to ice. Keep them on a lead and don’t throw things on to the ice for them to fetch. If they do go on and can’t get off, don’t go after them. Instead - call to them and if needs be, 999.
Avoid going near water/bodies of ice out of normal daylight hours, especially if on a night out.
If out walking or running don’t go near bodies of water where it may be slippery underfoot because of the ice or snow and slush.
If alone, try to tell someone beforehand your route and when you expect to be back.
What to do if you fall through the ice:
Keep calm and shout for ‘help’
Spread your arms across the surface of the ice in front of you
If the ice is strong enough, kick your legs to slide onto the ice
Lie flat and pull yourself towards the bank
If the ice breaks, work your way to the bank-breaking the ice in front of you anyway
If you cannot climb out, wait for help and keep as still as possible. Preserve heat by pressing your arms by your side and keep your legs together. Keep your head clear of the water
Once you are safe, go to hospital immediately for a check up
What to do if you see someone fall through the ice:
Shout for assistance and phone the emergency services – call 999 or 112. Do this immediately - what happens in the 2-3mins is crucial.
Do not walk or climb onto the ice to attempt a rescue
Shout to the casualty to ‘keep still’ and offer reassurance to keep them calm
Try and reach them from the bank using a rope, pole, tree branch, clothing tied together or anything else which can extend your reach
When reaching from the bank, lie down to avoid being pulled onto the ice
If you cannot reach them, slide something which floats, such as a plastic bottle or football, across the ice for them to hold onto to stay afloat whilst help is on the way
If the casualty is too far away, do not attempt to rescue them. Wait for the emergency services while calming and reassuring the casualty
What to do after the casualty has been rescued from the ice:
Make sure the ambulance is on its way
Lay the casualty flat, check for normal breathing and begin resuscitation if necessary
Prevent them from getting colder by covering them with warm clothing, blankets etc.
Get them out of the cold under cover or create some shelter around them
Until the casualty is in a warm place, do not undress them
Do not rub their skin, do not apply hot water bottles and do not give an alcoholic drink
Keep them wrapped up so they warm up gradually
Top ten checklist for winter
1. Get your flu jab - find out about flu vaccinations and those at higher risk on the NHS website.
2. Check your vehicle - Top up anti-freeze screen wash, check your tyres and think about winter kit for your car. Further advice about preparing your vehicle for winter can be found here.
3. Plan your commute- Consider alternative commuting plans for severe weather and childcare plans if schools are closed.
4. Check your heating – your home should be heated to at least 18 °C
5. Prepare for storms - Consider how you would access vital information if a storm takes out power and phonelines
6. Prepare- Think about what may be impacted by strong winds or floods – garden items, guttering, pipes, roof tiles/slates, items stored on your ground floor.
7. Check your pipes are insulated and know where your stoptap is. Guidance on lagging pipes can be found on the United Utilities website here.
8. Supplies- Make sure you have basic supplies in case you have to leave home quickly or your power and water are disrupted.
9. Share this checklist with your neighbours, see if they have any other tips and tell them if you can help in severe weather.
10. Help - Find out what else you can do to help your community prepare for severe weather on the government website here.