Published November 7, 2016 at 15:21
As winter sets in across the UK, the Met Office, the UK’s national weather service, is urging the UK public to prepare themselves for the winter ahead. The Get Ready for Winter campaign aims to help raise awareness of the dangers posed by winter weather
and provide tips and advice on how to minimise its impact.
Colder than you think
New research by the Met Office found that a quarter of UK adults (23%) don’t do anything at all to prepare for the weather changes and freezing temperatures, leaving millions of people vulnerable to accidents, and damage to their property and possessions.
Key checks and changes missed by millions include not checking that their pipes are insulated (76%), not having their boiler checked (66%), not topping up the antifreeze in their car (62%), or not putting a blanket and warm clothes in their car (77%). And while it happens every year, more than nine out of ten adults (91%) underestimate just how cold British winters can be with the average minimum temperature in the UK in January
being a chilly one degree Celsius. This may explain why 22% of adults confess to being inadequately dressed for the weather at least once a week during the winter months.
Accidents can happen and cold winters can lead to an increase in accidents. Four in ten UK adults (40%) have had a winter – related accident which has caused injury. Most of those have injured themselves falling over during the winter but some have been blown over or hit by flying objects in high winds. Over half of adults (51%) do not own winter footwear with extra grip for slippery and icy conditions or a shovel (56%) to clear snow – which may be contributing factors.
Looking out for the elderly as well as looking after themselves, the Met Office urges the community to help elderly or more vulnerable family and neighbours during cold spells –
26% of Brits already set a good example by checking in on older or vulnerable neighbours during winter.
Younger people are far less likely to check on elderly neighbours – just 13% of 18 – 24 year olds do, compared to 33% of those aged 55 – 64.Regionally, those in London are the least likely to – just one in five (19%) take the time to check in on the vulnerable. Those in Wales, however, are the most neighbourly, with the figure rising to 39%.
Melanie Harrowsmith, Head of Civil Contingencies at the Met Office said:
“With winter looming, now is the key time to take some basic steps to ensure that you, your home, and your possessions are protected from whatever winter weather brings.A little preparation now can help your family stay safeand avoid costly repairs or inconvenience that can result from winter related issues and accidents.”
Communities minister Andrew Percy said:
“Severe winter weather can have a terrible impact on communities and wreak havoc on people’s day to day lives. That is why we’ve provided almost £300million to areas that were badly affected last year. I would also urge everyone to visit the Met Office’s new website so they can help prepare appropriately for the wintery weather ahead.”
‘Get Ready for Winter’ is a campaign run and implemented by the Met Office on be half of a number of Government Departments with support from charities and other community based organisation.
To find out more about how to prepare for winter, including handy tips, head to the Met Office’s Get Ready For Winter website.
Top tips from the Met Office to prepare for winter:
Wear appropriate clothing: Low temperatures have an impact on our health, but there are other risks in winter including physical injuries from slips, trips and falls, ensure you wear appropriate clothing and footwear to avoid risk
Keep warm: Winter weather can have an impact on your health, try to heat at least one room in your home to 18°C
Boiler check: To avoid your boiler breaking down in freezing temperatures consider having it serviced
Lag your pipes: Ensure pipes in your house are insulated/lagged so they are not at risk of
Check your roof: Visually check your roof for loose tiles in case of strong winds and storms
Avoid flying garden furniture: Check the stability of fences and/or trees on your property to prevent damage in strong winds and storms. Also remember that some everyday items in the garden can become ‘missiles’ in high winds
Travelling in rain: Roads will be more slippery than usual in wet weather, give yourself more time to react when approaching a hazard by increasing your following gap to at least four seconds from the moving traffic in front
Travelling in Snow: When driving in snow, accelerate gently, using low revs. You may need
to take off in second gear to avoid skidding
Flood risk: Check your house is protected against flooding (Rivers or sea, reservoirsand
Stay ahead: Download the Met Office Weather app for the latest forecasts for your location.