Get ready for winter blog

Be winter ready with the Red Cross

The British Red Cross has launched its Ready for Winter campaign, helping people across the UK get ready for a season of severe weather. You might think winter weather won't affect you - but as our myth-busting guide shows, everyone needs to prepare for the worst.

The good news is that preparing for winter is really straightforward.

First of all, throw together a grab bag of essential items - you can see our suggestions for what to include later in the article. Then think about what support people you care for or others in your community might need. It's that simple.

Myth one: As long as you've got a mobile, you'll be fine

Mobile phones can be incredibly useful in an emergency. But what if your phone breaks, the network goes down or a power cut means you can't charge it? And even if you can call someone for help, they might not be able to reach you.

Make sure you have written down contact details for your friends and family. This will help you stay in touch even if your phone is out of action.

Myth two: You only need to worry about staying warm

Checking you have blankets and warm clothes is an important step, but so many other things might be useful when winter weather strikes - from spare keys and bottled water to a wind-up torch.

Prepare grab bags, maybe with different items for at home and on the go, so everything is in one place. Read our suggestions to see what you could include.

Myth Three: Winter weather is only a problem in the north of the UK.

Even warmer parts of the country can see rock bottom temperatures and severe weather. In the southern English county of Wiltshire the record lowest temperature is -19.5C, while Devon - home of cream teas and beach side holidays - has been as cold -16.7C. Wherever you live, make sure you're ready.

Myth four: No snow = no problem

You might think snow is the only winter weather problem. But in November 2012, winter flooding caused mayhem around the UK. In St Asaph's in Wales, the Red Cross set up a rest centre to help hundreds of people forced from their homes after a river burst its banks. We also helped after flooding in Lincolnshire, Devon, Cumbria and Perthshire.

Suggestions for your home grab bag

  • List of emergency contact numbers
  • Battery operated torch and spare batteries (or a wind-up torch)
  • Battery operated radio and spare batteries (or a wind-up radio)
  • Any essential medication, some toiletries and a first aid kit
  • Three days' supply of bottled water and ready-to-eat food that keeps
  • Copies of important documents like insurance policies and birth certificates
  • Pencil, paper, penknife and whistle
  • Spare keys to your home and car
  • Spare glasses or contact lenses
  • If needed, baby and pet supplies.

Find lots more information on the  Red Cross winter pages and why not play the Get Ready for winter quiz.

Red Cross

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