Snow and ice can disrupt our lives in lots of different ways.
It can cause frozen or burst pipes, transport disruption and even risk of hypothermia. Then when the snow thaws, a risk of flooding can follow. Because winter can be a particularly difficult time for elderly or vulnerable people, at Ready Scotland we’ve prepared the following advice to make sure you, and those around you, have the help and support you need.
- Make sure you’ve signed up to the latest information for your area;
- Review your household emergency kit;
- Check on vulnerable neighbours or relatives and help them to prepare. Make sure they’re aware of the support available to them during cold weather;
- Keep up-to-date with the latest weather warnings, travel advice and road conditions;
- Follow Ready Scotland's advice on preparing for travel disruptions.
In Cold Weather
- If you lose power, call 105 – it’s free of charge and will put you through to your local network operator who can give you help and advice;
- Make sure you can keep as warm as possible, wearing layers, and keeping at least one room in the house heated;
- If you’re out walking e.g. returning home from a night out, make sure someone knows your route and when you should be expected at your destination. This is especially important if you are walking home alone;
- If your pipes freeze or burst, follow our advice and watch Scottish Water's film.
- Take extra care when cycling, walking or driving. Leave a safe distance when driving - your stopping distance is increased by 10x in snow and ice;
- Stay off frozen waterways. Make sure children are aware of the possible dangers, and keep pets off icy water too. SFRS have more safety information;
- Make sure that vulnerable neighbours or relatives are safe and help them make arrangements for any repairs;
- Before attempting to thaw out your pipes, check for leaking joints or bursts. If there are none, and if it’s safe to do so, gently warm any frozen sections with a heated cloth wrapped around the pipe. Never apply a direct flame or attempt to thaw pipes by switching on your immersion heater or boiler;
- If you’re fit, well and able; clear and grit paths and pavements (clearing fresh snow is easiest, and avoid using hot water, which could quickly turn to ice).
NB It’s important to shovel snow safely. Take breaks during shovelling to reduce the stress on your heart and pay attention to how the body feels during breaks. If necessary, use a smaller shovel or do smaller amounts at a time. Avoid shovelling if you have any concerns about chest symptoms you have experienced in preceding weeks, days or hours. Learn the heart attack warning signs. Minutes matter. Fast action can save lives.
Find Out More
- Scottish Water has further winter advice on their website.
- If you’re concerned about flooding, sign up to SEPA's free Floodline direct warning service and take action if required. We also recommend SEPA's advice on preparing for and reacting to flooding.