What to do during extreme winter weather

Get ready

  • Make sure you have access to good information about health risks, and what to do if there’s a problem. Visit nhs.uk and the met office for the latest advice.
  • If you are receiving social care or health services ask your GP, key worker or other contact about staying healthy in winter and services available to you. Support is also available with heating costs for some families.
  • Ensure you are stocked with food and medications in advance.
  • Make sure you have a list of emergency numbers if you need to call for assistance or advice during cold weather.
  • Check room temperatures – especially those rooms where disabled or vulnerable people spend most of their time
  • If you or someone else is likely to be restricted to one room during winter weather, make sure that room can be kept at or above recommended temperature (18oc) and that you plan what resources you/they need to keep them safe and warm – seek energy advice as necessary
  • Protect water pipes from freezing by insulating them, and look at insultation including draughts from windows, doors and chimneys.

A road is covered in snow in the middle of winter


Take action during extreme cold weather

  • Stay tuned into the weather forecast and media alerts.
  • Heat your home to at least 18°C, and wear warm clothing indoors. Eat warm food and take warm drinks regularly
  • Keep active even when indoors.
  • Take the weather into account when planning your activity over the following days. Avoid exposing yourself to cold or icy outdoor conditions if you are at a higher risk of cold related illness or falls. When severe weather is forecast, only go out if essential.
  • When you go out, dress warmly and wear non-slip shoes. Check the weather before you go. Tell someone where you are going and when you will get back. Keep your mobile phone (if you have one) on you and charged. If you’re driving, put food, water, a blanket and a spade in your car.
  • Look out for vulnerable neighbours and help them prepare for winter (e.g. with key contact numbers for emergency situations). Ensure they have access to warm food and drinks and are managing to heat their home adequately.

A woman looks at her tablet computer whilst sitting in an armchair