Winter safety advice
When heating your home, you should heat it to a temperature comfortable for you with a recommendation of at least 18°C for rooms you frequently use, such as your living room or bedroom. You should keep bedroom windows closed at night.
Maintaining indoor temperatures is particularly important if you are not mobile, have a long-term illness, or are 65 or over. It is also advised to avoid exposing yourself to cold or icy outdoor conditions if you are at a higher risk of cold-related illness.
Additional or alternative methods include heating your body rather the home. To do this you can:
- wear several layers rather than one thick layer, this could include a base layer and using hats and scarves
- keep your feet warm with slippers or the right socks and footwear
- use a hot water bottle (see safety advice below)
- turn on an electric blanket or other heated electrical items (see safety advice below)
- gentle exercise or move around - preferably every hour
- eat regularly and try to include one hot meal a day. View information on food banks and how to save money on food.
You can find a list of the cheapest ways to keep warm on MoneySavingExpert .
Safety at home
As the cold weather keeps many indoors, staying safe at home while keeping warm is essential. Find below a few safety tips to keep in mind during the coming winter period and colder weather.
- Hot water bottle use - Ensure your hot water bottle is in good condition. Hot water bottles can be used for up to two to three years. However, if the item looks faded or damaged in any way it should be replaced. Hot water should be cooled slightly before being added to the bottle and the bottle stored empty to maintain its integrity.
Tip: At the top of your hot water bottle on the funnel, there should be a small flower motif (this might look like a daisy) on one side. This sign will have a number in the middle which is the year it was made. To find out the month, check the individual petals (12 petals to represent 12 months) for dots inside. One dot in the first petal means the first week in January, if it has 13 dots across four petals then it would be the first week of April.
If your hot water bottle doesn't have the daisy sign, check for the BS safety standard (BS 1970:2012). If you cannot find either, you may need to think about getting a new hot water bottle.
- electrical safety - turn electrical items, such as electric blankets, off at night. Make sure they are well looked after and used in the correct manner, for example, by not turning on an electric blanket when wet
- gas safety - check your heating and cooking appliances are safe. Contact a Gas Safe registered engineer to make sure they're operating properly. Visit www.gassaferegister.co.uk and www.nationalfirechiefs.org.uk
- fire safety - Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service has useful advice on their website on how to prevent a fire at home , as well as offering a Safe and Well check which provides you with fire safety tips suitable for your home
Check in on vulnerable neighbours, family and friends
During winter, neighbours, friends and families who are older or more vulnerable may need extra help. Whether that be securing food supplies or medication if they are unable to go out due to the weather or a medical condition, encouraging them to wear shoes with good grip and a scarf if going outside, or just having a chat to check in on how they're feeling.
If they require help over the holiday period when their GP practice or pharmacy is closed or they're not sure what to do, NHS 111 is available. The service can be accessed by phone or online at 111.nhs.uk
Be prepared and stay up to date
The weather can change quickly so keep up to date with the forecast by checking www.metoffice.gov.uk and plan ahead appropriately.
If you need to travel, make sure your vehicle is winter ready using this guide on the Met Office website .