Are you ready for winter?

Ready Scotland is a campaign by the Scottish Government to help people across Scotland to think ahead and get prepared for winter. Recent research suggested that after a couple of milder winters, many people were not taking any steps to prepare for emergencies or severe weather. The Ready Scotland site brings together simple steps you can take that can make a big difference – with the help of their trademark dog!


For many it has been a good few years since daily life has been disrupted by waking up to find a few feet of snow has been dumped at their front door by Mother Nature or plans have had to change thanks to the impact of strong winds and rain.

Research undertaken by the British Red Cross and the Scottish Government found that the longer the time period since an individual has had to deal with the effects of severe weather the less likely they are to take steps to prepare. As the memories of the severe weather experienced in 2010 and 2011 fade so does the intention to be ready.

Unfortunately, severe weather doesn’t stick to a rota. Past performance by the weather is not necessarily an indicator of what to expect this winter.

Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment & Cities Keith Brown said:

“If there is anything recent winters have shown us it is that Scottish weather is unpredictable. The unpredictability of weather patterns means we cannot simply hope that we will miss the worst of it. While we can’t stop the weather causing disruption, we can be well prepared to cope with it.”

There are 3 elements to think about when it comes to being ready for winter.

Firstly, there is staying informed. Whether through local news, radio, social media or by signing up to the Met Office alert service, it is important that you stay in the know about imminent weather conditions.

The second element is about being prepared. Whether in the home, at work or travelling out and about there are a simple actions that will ensure you are better prepared in the event they have to deal with severe weather.

It is also important to consider whether you are prepared enough. For example, having an ice scraper and de-icer might be fine if you are only driving a mile from your home. However, for longer journeys you will want to make sure you have a blanket and a hot drink in the car in case you and your car become stranded.


Thirdly, think about others. Are there individuals in your local community who might not be as able as you to deal with the effects of severe weather? Consider what you can do to help them be ready.

David Miller, Director of the British Red Cross in Scotland, said:

“Making sure you are prepared now for winter can make a huge difference when extreme weather hits. At the Red Cross we know that severe weather, including snow and floods, can have serious consequences. However, with a few simple steps you can make yourself and others ready for the disruption it can bring.”

For more information on how to get ready for winter visit

Who’s going to help me when the snow comes?

Should the snow come, how ready will Scotland’s Councils be to look after vulnerable older people asks Doug Anthoney, as Age Scotland calls on the public to join its Winter Weather Watch.


Last December Age Scotland submitted a Freedom of Information request to each of Scotland’s 32 Councils. We asked them what they were doing to ensure that vulnerable older people were not cut off from the community and from vital public services in severe winter weather. There were some interesting findings.

We learned that while every Council in Scotland has a winter weather plan, less than half had a dedicated older people’s isolation and support strategy. When it came to publicising winter weather provision, some just put information on their website, whereas others used road shows and got word out through elected members and Community Councils. From salt and grit distribution, to partnership with voluntary organisations, the story is similarly mixed.

We’ve used this information to prepare good practice recommendations that we want Councils to sign up to. All should:

  • Have a plan for identifying vulnerable older people and meeting their needs
  • Take action to ensure older people and their families are aware of the plan and how to register for assistance
  • Partner with appropriate voluntary organisations for improved weather emergency response
  • Prioritise locations with a high proportion of older people for salt and grit
  • Review their plans annually to check that they work.

We would also like members of the public local older people’s to join our Winter Weather Watch; to keep an eye on their Council’s response to severe weather, and to tell us how well this meets the needs of older people. Signing up is easy and can be done online. We’ll note your details and contact you in spring 2013 to ask about your winter experiences, or possibly sooner if there is a particularly severe weather incident affecting your area.