Starting to think about winter

Next month we’re launching our ‘Spread the Warmth’ campaign to help you keep warm and safe in winter, including a 2013 edition of our popular Hot Tips Calender.  In anticipation, Age Scotland volunteer Rebecca Gordon shares some top tips for this month.

While we can’t prepare for everything the British climate has to throw at us, making sure you have a plan for the colder months ahead can make a real difference.  To help get you started, this month Age Scotland’s Hot Tips calendar looks at a few essential steps to take to get set for winter.

Are you ready for an emergency?

Not only can bad weather cause damage to your home and belongings, but it could result in a power cut, loss of telephone communications or even becoming stranded while out and about.

Prepare for unexpected difficulties before they happen by making emergency contact arrangements with family and friends, as well as noting down important local phone numbers, like your doctor, nearest police station, and any others you might need.

It’s also handy to keep hold of the numbers for your gas, electricity and telephone suppliers, as well as your insurance company.

Stock up well

Torrential weather could make it difficult to get out and about for things like food and other supplies, while a power cut might mean cooking is impossible. To avoid this, it’s best to keep your freezer and cupboard stocked up with things like soup, dried foods and other food that doesn’t need to be heated up in the event of a power cut.

It’s also important to ensure your medicine cabinet is restocked while an emergency kit, including a torch and batteries, portable radio, first aid supplies and emergency numbers in case of a power failure is a must-have. If you have a mobile phone, keep it charged and close to you too.

Look out for your neighbours

Chat to your neighbours to find out whether they might need any help over winter – or if they could be of any help to you.

Edith Connor, 82, from Murrayfield, Edinburgh, is well prepared.

“I’ve got a neighbour down the road and I make sure she’s OK and my neighbour across the road has a key to my house and I have his. He watches to make sure my curtains are open in the morning and I watch his so we know we’re both alright.

“I always make lots of soup in the freezer and have plenty of bread too – a bowl of soup is great on a cold day. For emergencies I’ve got a whole list of contact numbers behind my kitchen door; the police, the NHS service, my local doctor – I know that off by heart. I’ve also got my church number. My church is great, if I felt unwell I just have to call them.”

A few other things

Insurance – Make sure you’re covered. Check you’ve got adequate buildings and contents insurance, and if your policies cover things like floods or storm damage. You should also find out what the cost of temporary accommodation would be in the case of an emergency.

Frozen pipes – if cold weather is forecast it’s best to keep your heating on overnight at a low temperature – about 15°C – so your pipes won’t freeze.

Useful links

MET Office Severe Weather Warnings

SEPA Flood Warnings


Scottish Government – Ready Scotland

Pre order your free Hot Tips 2013 calendar

Email Greg McCracken to request a copy by post.  Please include your full postal address details.

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