Keeping Warm: It’s all in the preparation

Keeping Warm: It’s all in the preparation

Pensioner Frost old lady

Severe weather can strike quickly and cause major disruption to the lives of the most vulnerable members of society. Here’s a guide that may help you prepare yourself and your home should the worst happen.


  • Let the weather man be thy guide and listen out for severe weather warnings from the Met Office.
  • Keep a selection of tinned goods just in case you can’t get out to the shops, think tuna, salmon, fruit, veg and milk.
  • Nominate a flu-meds friend, somebody that will bring you essential prescriptions when you’re as weak as a kitten. Certain pharmacies will deliver your prescriptions, such as Boots, Lloyds and Rowlands.
  • Write a list of emergency contact numbers such as neighbours, family, utility companies, vets and doctors and keep them by the phone. Bear in mind that mobile phones, laptops or digital-cordless phones may be inaccessible in a power cut. According to Ofcom research, eight in ten homes in the UK use a cordless land-line telephone - but these phones are very unlikely to work in a power cut, even if they're fully charged.
  • Allocate your stopcock in order to stop the flow of water should you suffer a burst from a frozen pipe, no one likes an impromptu ice rink.
  • Insulating your roof and lagging your pipes ahead of winter will pay dividends when the cold sets in.
  • In case of power cuts, keep torches, batteries and candles in a handy place (not the back of a cluttered cupboard).
  • Only allow Gas Safe registered engineers near your heating appliances. The engineers have worked very hard to be Gas Safe registered and will proudly show you their badge.


  • Treat your boiler to a regular service. Just like your car, you will only ensure maximum performance and ultimate efficiency from your boiler if it is regularly serviced.
  • Carry out visual checks on your gas appliances. Look for a lazy orange or yellow flame in place of a pin sharp blue one. Look for sooty black marks around the appliance and make sure condensation around the room is at its usual level. If you suspect any of these situations are occurring, it could mean your appliances aren't working to their maximum output, worse still they could be dangerous.
  • Headaches, breathlessness, dizziness, collapse, nausea and loss of consciousness are all indications and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. We would always recommend a carbon monoxide alarm next to any fossil fuel burning appliance.
  • You can’t see, smell or taste carbon monoxide. The only way you would detect it is an audible carbon monoxide alarm.
  • Don’t try venturing out into icy conditions without the right clothing. Practical boots with a good grip are a must, along with lots of layers and a waterproof jacket. Why not try topping it off with a fetching beanie hat.
  • Get your flu jab – No one likes needles but it’s better than having the flu!
  • Keep up energy and hydration levels by eating small portions of healthy food regularly throughout the day along with plenty of fluids.
  • A bottle of alcohol hand rub can prevent the spread of viruses between family and friends.
  • If you suffer from mobility issues, keep a flask of hot drink near you.
  • Turn down the radiators in rooms that are rarely used and close the door.

Phone telephone suit

  • Speak to friends, neighbours and energy providers about any benefits, grants and discounts entitlements
  • If it is possible, keep up with social activities (always tell somebody where you are going) and keep in contact with friends. Your friends need your company as much as you need theirs!
  • Ensure your mobile devices are charged and easily accessible.
  • Discuss a plan with everyone you live with on what to do in a crisis.
  • Plan for an alternative source to keep warm should your heating be disrupted.
  • Keep photocopies or scans of important documents at a friendly-remote location should your home be damaged in severe weather.
  • For the tech savvy, set up weather alerts, first aid apps and home shopping on your mobile, tablet or PC.
  • Check on your neighbours, friends and family. Where possible, offer to help clear the snow from their property, ensure they are eating properly and visit to keep up morale, we all love a good chin wag.
  • Stock up on salt or sand to combat icy pathways around your home.