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Severe weather

How can I help other people during extreme weather conditions?

One of the main challenges over any period of severe weather is providing support to vulnerable people who might struggle to clear drives and pathways to make it to the shops and pharmacies for essential items.

It would be incredibly helpful if all residents across North East Lincolnshire could
think about being a ‘good neighbour’ and check on people who they know might be
affected by the weather and provide whatever support they can.

Practical support in the following areas is likely to be gratefully appreciated by the most vulnerable members of the community:

  • providing assistance/support to people who can’t get shops for essential food items
  • providing assistance/support to people who can’t get to pharmacies for essential medication
  • encouraging all residents to be ‘good neighbours’
  • helping to clear footpaths and drives wherever practicable
  • promoting advice on keeping warm during cold conditions
  • advising people to take extra care and wear boots or shoes with good grip when they go out. (Some outdoor shops sell ice grips that can be fitted onto shoes).

Where can I find general advice to help me deal with the cold weather?

Preventing burst and frozen pipes

The following can help prevent your pipes from freezing:

  • keep the home as warm as possible, and even if you are out lag pipes in exposed or draughty places
  • leave the trap door to roof-space open to let warm air flow in
  • ensure that taps are turned off properly, especially last thing at night
  • never use an electric, gas or paraffin heater in the roof-space
  • become familiar with your water supply system now and find the main stopcock which turns off the water supply to your property.

If you think a pipe is frozen but has not burst:

  • contact a plumber, or, if it is safe, try to thaw the affected pipe using a hairdryer or hot water bottle. Start at the end of the pipe nearest the tap and work away from it. Do not use a naked flame to do this. Be aware of the dangers of electricity and water.
  • store some water for personal and toilet needs, in case you have to switch the mains water off later.

If you find a burst pipe or have water dripping:

  • first, switch off your electricity at the mains – but if there is any danger of mains switch being wet seek advice from an electrician first
  • do not touch any light or power fittings until mains has been disconnected
  • turn off the water at the stop-cock, if the flow of water cannot be stopped, open all the cold taps to drain the system Phone for a plumber, and if extensive damage is likely, phone your house insurance provider
  • if the burst is on a pipe from the storage tank, turn off the stop valve in the storage tank, turn on all hot taps to drain the system, allow the fire to burn out or turn the heating off until the burst pipe has been attended to by a plumber
  • think about the effects of no water or electricity in your house – if you have problems ask neighbours, family or town and parish council for help.

Additional general cold weather advice is available from the Met Office Weather Ready.

Where can I find advice on staying warm during the severe cold?

The following is Government guidance on staying warm during very cold weather.

Heating your home

To keep warm at home during the day try to:

  • heat your main living room around 18-21°C (64-70°) and the rest of the house at 16°C (61°F)
  • heat all the room you use during the day
  • make sure you keep your living room warm throughout the day and heat your bedroom before going to bed
  • set the timer on your heating to come on before you get up and switch off when you go to bed
  • in very cold weather set the heating to come on earlier, rather than turn the thermostat up, so you won’t be cold while you wait for your home to heat up.

To keep warm at home during the night you should:

  • try to keep the temperature about 18°C (65°F) in your bedroom overnight
  • open the window or door a little at night for ventilation if you use a fire or heater in your bedroom during winter
  • never use an electric blanket and a hot water bottle together as you could electrocute yourself
  • check what type of electric blanket you have – some are designed only to warm the bed before you get in and should not be used throughout the night
  • make sure your electric blanket is safe to use by getting it tested every three years – the Fire and Rescue Service, Trading Standards, and Age UK can test your electric blanket for safety.

Financial help for heating your home

You may also be able to claim financial help with heating your home, including:

  • winter fuel payment
  • cold weather payment
  • heating rebate scheme
  • warm front scheme

The DirectGov website provides information on the eligibility of getting help with
heating your home: DirectGov – Help with heating your home.

Wearing warm clothes

You can help keep warm by:

  • wearing plenty of thin layers, rather than one thick one
  • putting on a coat, hat, scarf, gloves, and warm shoes or boots when you go outside
  • wearing clothes made of wool, cotton, or fleecy synthetic fibres
  • wearing bed socks and thermal underwear at night

Eat well

Eating regular meals will help keep your energy levels up during winter.

Try to:

  • have plenty of hot foods and drinks
  • plan your meals and keep your diet as varied as possible
  • aim to include your daily 5 portions of fruit and vegetables. This includes tinned and frozen fruit and vegetables
  • stay active
  • exercise is good for your overall health and it can keep you warm in winter even a small amount of exercise can bring health benefits. If possible, try to move around at least once an hour.

Where can I find information on driving in difficult conditions?

If you really can’t avoid travelling during severe weather the Automobile Association has partnered with the Environment Agency to provide advice on how to stay safe during difficult driving conditions. The information included on their website ranges from how to deal with the heat, to driving in icy conditions. They even have specific advice on how to tackle fords. Go to The AA – Seasonal driving advice.