- Stay in the Know
- Advice on how to stay Safe and Snug this winter
- At Home
- Community Spirit
- External Guidance
- Emergency Reporting and Service Queries
During the winter months the weather is colder and wetter, sometimes causing snow, frost and ice. Weather such as this can impact how we go about our day-to-day lives.
Severe weather can cause various issues, but by doing a few small things now you can ensure you are ready.
During the winter, weather conditions can change substantially from day-to-day. By keeping track of weather forecasts and service impacts you can find out what to expect and take action if and when necessary.
In addition to watching the news and listening to radio updates there are other ways to say informed:
- For updates on weather conditions you can visit the Met Office website (external link)
- For information about traffic conditions and road closures visit the Highways Agency website (external link)
- For public transport information, including closures and replacement/alternative services visit the Transport for London website (external link)
- Haringey Council provide updates via social media channels:
It is important to stay hydrated during the winter months. Dehydration can be just as common at this time of year as it is in the summer. During the colder winter months signs of dehydration can sometimes go unnoticed because your body doesn’t sweat as much. If your body is dehydrated you can become more susceptible to catching the flu or common cold – viruses that are more prevalent during the winter. Dehydration can also cause muscle fatigue, tiredness, cramps and in extreme cases, stroke.
Remember to drink plenty of fluid throughout the day during the winter months to help keep your body healthy. The Food Standards Agency (external link) recommends you drink 1.2 litres (6-8 glasses) of fluid to stay hydrated. And remember, coffee doesn’t count!
You can catch the flu at any time during the year; however, it is particularly common during the winter – which is why it is sometimes referred to as ‘seasonal flu’. For those in good health, although unpleasant, symptoms usually clear up within 1 week.
Some people are at greater risk of contracting flu and in some cases developing flu related complications. At-risk groups include:
- Children and Infants under the age of 5
- People aged 65 and over
- Pregnant women
- People with weakened immune systems
- People with existing health conditions
The risk of contracting or spreading flu can be decreased by taking the following steps:
- Practice good respiratory and hand hygiene - Regularly washing hands and using hand sanitisers will reduce the spread of germs and in turn, your likelihood of catching the flu. The “Catch it, Kill it, Bin it” campaign (external link) provides further advice on this tactic to prevent the spread of flu
- Get a flu vaccination – Getting a flu vaccination will reduce your risk of contracting the flu. The level of protection it provides will vary from person to person and is not guaranteed to be 100% effective for every person who gets it. However, if you were to get the flu despite having the vaccination, it is likely to be milder and shorter-lived than it would’ve been if you hadn’t had the vaccination.
See the GOV.UK Annual Flu Programme page (external link) or this NHS leaflet on Flu Vaccination: Who should have it and why (PDF, 550KB; external link) for more information.
GP’s offer free flu vaccinations (PDF, 1MB) to:
- People aged 65 years and over
- Clinical at-risk groups
- Pregnant women
- Carers and Health and social care workers
- Residents in long-stay care homes
During the winter months you should heat your home to a minimum of 18 ºC to keep well, consider heating your main living room to 21 ºC which could be good for your health. Close your curtains after dusk to help keep the heat in and wear lots of thin layers of clothing to help maintain a good body temperature – clothes made of cotton, wool or fleecy fabrics are best. If you can, try to stay active this winter, exercise is both good for your health and staying warm.
For further advice on keeping warm and healthy this winter visit the GOV.UK Keep Warm, Keep Well (external link)
Heating your Home Safely
Carbon monoxide poisoning can seriously affect your health, and in some cases even cause death. Carbon monoxide poisoning can occur when cooking and heating appliances which burn carbon-containing fuels are poorly maintained and poorly ventilated. To ensure your carbon- burning appliances remain safe to use you should have them serviced annually and consider fitting an audible carbon monoxide alarm.
Do not use a gas cooker or oven to heat your home – this is both ineffective and high risk!
For more information about carbon monoxide safety please visit the Health and Safety Executive (external link) website, or call their Gas Safety Advice Line on 0800 300 368 (Mon – Thurs 9am to 5.30pm and Fri 9am to 5pm)
For general health advice and information on how to find a registered engineer, visit the NHS Carbon Monoxide (external link) page.
Protecting your Home
Your home is also vulnerable to the affects of cold weather. Cold weather means your pipes are at risk of freezing which can cause them to expand and burst. Thames Water (external link) provides advice, including an informative video on what to do if your pipes freeze this winter.
Storms and High Winds
Winter weather can sometimes mean strong winds and storms which can cause damage to your property and cause hazardous conditions. For advice on how to prepare for this kind of weather please visit our Storms and High Winds advice page.
The risk of flooding is increased during the winter months due to wet weather. For further advice on flooding, including how to find out if you live in a flood zone and how to prepare for and respond to a flooding incident, please visit our Flooding advice page.
You may be entitled to grants and benefits that could help you with bills this winter.
Winter Fuel Payment
If you were born before 5 July 1952 you could be entitled to between £100 - £300 tax-free to help you pay your heating bills. Visit our Winter Fuel Payments page for more information and advice on how to claim.
Cold Weather Payments
Cold Weather Payments may be claimed if the temperature is forecasted to/ or does drop to below freezing for 7 or more consecutive days. You may be entitled to claiming Cold Weather Payments if you receive certain benefits. Visit the GOV.UK Cold Weather Payments (external link) page to find out if you are eligible.
Free Loft Insulation
The insulation in your loft should be at least 300mm (12inches) thick to contain heat sufficiently. If your insulation is under the recommended thickness you could be eligible for free loft insulation which is funded by major energy companies. Please visit our Helping you Stay Warm and Well page for more information.
Power cuts occur all year round but during the colder months they can have a larger impact due to the loss of much relied upon central heating and water. Power outages will often occur with little or no warning so it is important to prepare in advance, visit our Power Outage advice page for more information.
Elderly residents, residents with a chronic illness or disability and young babies may be particularly vulnerable to the risks caused by power cuts. If you recognise yourself as someone who fits into one of these at-risk groups, you may be able to sign up to the UK Power Networks Priority Service Register (external link). By signing up to this register you can receive extra support during power cuts.
Snow and ice can pose greater risks to your health and safety when you are out and about during the colder months. Accidents and injuries are often more common during the winter months because snow and ice can cause roads and pavements to become hazardous. Consider the following advice and information to help you stay safe when out and about this winter:
Snow and ice can cause pavements to become slippery. Wearing the correct footwear can reduce the chances of having a slip or a trip. Although trainers are great for grip on dry surfaces, on snow and ice they offer very little. The most suitable footwear for snowy conditions is wellies or walking boots. A cheaper option is purchasing some removable ice grips that can slip on over your shoes which offer a good grip on both ice and snow.
Snow and ice can cause hazardous driving conditions, for this reason driving in snow is not advised. Public transport or walking is advised as an alternative means of getting around in snowy conditions.
If you are planning to travel by car in snowy or icy conditions there are a few things you can do to prepare. It is important to check that the vehicle is in good working order:
- Check your tyres and brakes
- Check your water and engine oil
- Check your windscreen wipers
- Top up with anti-freeze
- Have battery jump leads with you
- Clear your driveway, or consider purchasing your own supply of grit
In case your journey gets disrupted or you have to abandon your vehicle for any reason you should consider packing the following things in your car:
- A torch
- A high visibility jacket or vest
- A fully charged mobile phone
- Shoes with good grip (see Walking above)
- Extra clothes such as a warm jumper and waterproofs
- Consider taking a grab bag
Severe weather can cause disruptions to usual public transport routes. Before heading off check the Transport for London website (external link) for updates of disruptions and information about alternative or replacement services.
If you have assessed your situation and have decided it is unsafe for you to drive and alternative transport arrangements are not an option, depending on the nature of your work it may be a possibility that you could work from home. Check with your employer to see if this is something that could be considered.
The council has an obligation to keep certain roads and streets clear of snow during the winter. The Road and Street Gritting page offers more information about where, when and how the council will keep its streets clear from snow, ice and frost. For more in depth information - the council maintains a Winter Service Plan (PDF, 3MB) which is a document that clarifies the winter gritting policy and the operational service plan to ensure Haringey meets its obligation to keep its streets and roads free from snow during the winter. Lists of priority roads and pavements for salting/gritting can be found in the appendices.
Roads and streets are cleared by the council on a priority basis. For advice on how to safely clear snow from your property or public spaces to reduce the risk of slips and trip please visit the Snow Code page.
Lend a Helping Hand
Some say winter is a time for togetherness. In the spirit of togetherness why not lend a helping hand to an older neighbour or family member?
Elderly people are most at risk from the affects of cold weather. Offering a helping hand or simply watching out for an elderly neighbour could reduce their vulnerability this winter.
Here are some things you can do to help:
- Giving them your phone number in case they need help in bad weather
- Clearing snow/ice from pathways (check the Snow Code for advice on how to do this safely)
- Picking up their food shopping for them whilst doing your own
- Picking up important medical prescriptions for them or helping to arrange transport to important appointments
- Helping them make contact with their utility company if they are experiencing problems with heating/water
- Contact their family in an emergency
The Government provides further advice and guidance (external link) on supporting people affected by severe weather conditions in your local community.
This section provides links for further advice from our partner agencies on how to prepare for winter.
- For advice from the Met Office on how to prepare for winter, including; travel advice, how to stay warm and well, protecting your home and how to do your bit for the community, see the Get Ready for Winter website (external link)
- For advice from the NHS on how to keep you, your family and others around you warm during cold conditions, visit the NHS website (external link)
This section provides information on where to direct winter weather related enquires.
- For urgent or emergency gritting requests:
- During office hours (Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5.30pm) please contact Veolia Haringey Contact Centre on 020 8885 7700, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Outside office hours, please call our emergency switchboard on 020 8489 0000
- If you are a council housing tenant please visit the Homes for Haringey website (external) for the latest service information
- If you are experiencing problems with water, electricity or gas please contact your service provider
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