In cold weather, keeping warm is essential for staying healthy, especially for the very young, the elderly or people with a chronic condition such as heart disease or asthma.
During the winter months as weather conditions come and go, we are aware that it can cause problems on roads and pavements.
Please note that it is North Yorkshire County Council Highways responsibility to grit the roads and also to repair any pot holes in the borough.
You can also view where the gritting will be taking place by visiting North Yorkshire County Council gritting maps.
Other useful information:
Winter Watch - regular updates on how the NHS are coping with increased demands during the cold weather.
Keep warm, keep well - winter advice from the NHS
Winter flu jabs - flu (influenza) is a highly infectious illness that spreads rapidly through the coughs and sneezes of people who are carrying the virus.
Although extreme weather cannot always be predicted, listen to the weather forecasts regularly during the winter months and keep emergency supplies stocked up.
At home the NHS advises that you:
- keep curtains drawn and doors closed to block out draughts
- keep your home to a temperature of around 18 to 21C (64 to 70F). The recommended temperature for older people is 21C (70F) (Help the Aged). If you cannot heat all the rooms you use, heat the living room throughout the day and the bedroom just before you go to sleep
- if you are eligible, make sure you get your flu
- do not block heaters and radiators by furniture or cover them by curtains
- draught proof front doors with a curtain and fix draught proofing strips to windows and the bottom of external doors, but be sure to leave a small section around windows to let in fresh air
- have regular hot meals and drinks and keep active to help your body stay warm
- wear several layers of thin clothing rather than one thick layer; if you need to go outside keep dry to prevent loss of body heat and wear shoes with good grip soles
- watch out for signs of hypothermia - uncontrollable shivering, slow or slurred speech, memory lapses, drowsiness and frostbite; loss of feeling in and a pale appearance to your fingers, toes, nose and ear lobes
- keep moving your arms and legs about to help the blood circulate
Other tips for around the home:
- if using a fireplace or stove, make sure that your chimney or flue has been inspected
- install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors and test the batteries monthly
- take a hot water bottle to bed or use an electric blanket (never use them together)
Food and safety checklist:
- drinking water - have bottled water to hand
- canned food, bread dried fruits
- non electric can opener
- baby food and formula (for families and babies)
- prescription drugs and other medicines
- first aid kit
- rock salt to melt ice on walkways
- torch and spare batteries
- wind-up radio or battery operated radio
Out and about
Only venture outside if it is absolutely essential. If you need to go out make sure you wear:
- several layers of loose fitting clothes (try to wear items with sleeves that are snug at the wrist)
- a hat
- water repellent coat
- sturdy boots with a good tread/ or snow grips
- warm socks
- put grit or cat litter on paths and driveways to reduce the risk of slipping
Be cautious about travelling, keep listening to the radio, the television or check on the website for travel conditions and remember these tips. You can find additional advice at via The AA.
Some quick tips if you have to travel
- allow longer for your journey than you normally would
- use major roads if possible where gritting will have occurred
- clear your windows completely of snow and ice
Keep in the car or take with you
- ice scraper and de-icer
- fully charged mobile phone
- flask with a hot drink
- first aid kit
- tow rope
- warm clothes (hat, gloves)
- sleeping bag
- snow shovel/spade
- old piece of carpet or rug (to put under wheels if you get stuck)
- inform someone you are making the journey and when you expect to be there
On the road
- slow down and make gentle manoeuvres as stopping distances need to be increased by around 10 times the normal stopping distance in snow and ice
- avoid harsh braking and acceleration
What if you get stranded?
- staying with your vehicle is often the safest thing to do, especially if a winter storm is occurring, which will create poor visibility or if roadways are ice covered
- follow these steps in the case of getting stranded
- move anything you need from the boot into the passenger area
- wrap your entire body, including your head, in extra clothing, blankets, or newspaper
- stay awake
- run the motor (and heater) for about 10 minutes every hour. Open a window slightly to let in air. Make sure that snow is not blocking the exhaust pipe (this will reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning)
- as you sit, move your arms and legs to help with circulation. This will also help you keep warmer
- huddle with other people for warmth
Look out for your elderly neighbours and family
Check on elderly, vulnerable neighbours and relatives. Cold weather is especially dangerous for older people or people with a serious illness. Help out where possible.