person holding white ceramic mug

Be Winter Ready

Be Prepared

  1. Have a stock of non-perishable, easily prepared food that doesn’t need cooking.
  2. Have some bottled water – in some places, mains water will stop working if there’s no power.
  3. Keep extra supplies of essential medication in case it is difficult to get to the doctor/pharmacy.
  4. Have an adequate supply of fuel for heating/cooking and if possible a suitable alternative should the main supply fail
  5. Have enough warm clothes – lots of thinner layers are best – and bedding.
  6. Have LED torches or LED camping lanterns and spare batteries – much safer than candles.
  7. Otherwise, have candles and matches. Candles should always be placed away from draughts in proper candleholders.
    Never leave a burning candle unattended.
  8. Know how to turn off your water supply.
  9. Keep mobile phones charged up – have local emergency numbers in your phone.
  10. Have an old-fashioned plug-in, landline phone and a list of family members’ landline numbers if they still have them – mobile networks can fail in a power outage.
  11. Have a suitable snow shovel (but any shovel or spade will do)
  12. Car readiness Make time for winter: advice to motorists – GOV.UK (  6 simple checks to prepare your vehicle for winter – Met Office / Prepare a winter kit for your car – Met Office.
  13. Check for flood forecast here and sign up for flood alerts Sign up for flood warnings – GOV.UK (
  14. Check if you live in an area with a long term flood risk here


Protect your pipes

Pipes new or old don’t like the cold, they can freeze, crack or burst which causes unwanted damage to homes. Insulating pipes can save a lot of hassle and money.

Find your stop valve

If your pipes freeze or burst, you must locate the stop valve and turn it off immediately. It is commonly located under a sink (kitchen or utility room), in a garage or close to the hot water system.

If a pipe freezes

Turn off the stop valve immediately and open all COLD taps to drain the system, but NEVER turn on the hot taps – if you have a hot water cylinder it may collapse, if the pipes leading to it are frozen.

Call us at 0800 652 8104 (freephone) if you are in doubt about what to do.

Thawing out your pipes 

Never attempt to thaw out frozen pipes by switching on your immersion heater or central heating boiler. Instead, check for leaking joints or bursts in the pipes. If it is safe to do so, then gently heat any frozen sections with a heated cloth wrapped around the pipe. Never apply direct flame.


Advice for Older People and their Families and Neighbours

Winter can be a challenging time for some people to get about and conduct day to day activities. It can be even more difficult for older and other vulnerable people.

woman in purple and white floral shirt sitting on white bedKeeping Well and Warm

  • Keep warm, eat well and avoid unnecessary travel. You should eat regular hot meals and drink plenty of fluids, this will keep you warm and will give you energy to keep active.
  • Ensure you have sufficient supplies of food and of any prescription medicine you may need. Keep active indoors.
  • Have sufficient fuel supplies to maintain adequate heating in your home.
  • Ask your relatives and neighbours for help if you need it. Keep their phone numbers on a list beside your phone.

Personal Safety – Staying Safe

  • In icy weather, wear well-fitted shoes with non-slip soles if you have to go out but try to limit walking outside during the cold weather.
  •  Consider wearing a personal alarm so that family or neighbours are alerted if you fall.
  • If you have a fall, even a minor one, make sure you visit your doctor for a check up.

Fall prevention in your home

  • Leave a low energy light on at night time, preferably one with a high light output.
  • Use a non-slip shower or bath mat.
  • Make sure wires or cords from lamps, telephones etc. do not trail where you walk.
  • Arrange furniture so that you can easily move around all your rooms.
  • Remove rugs or use non-slip tape or backing so rugs will not slip.