Winter ready: be safe

Find out how to stay safe indoors and outdoors during the winter months, including preparing for severe weather and travelling in winter conditions.

At home: indoors

engineer checking boilerCheck your boilers - they work best at one bar pressure

When protecting your home this winter, it's important to check your boiler pressure – it should be about one bar.

You'll find the pressure gauge on the front of your boiler or underneath it, where the pipes are. It'll be either a dial or a digital display.

If it's too high or too low, it's a good idea to give a Gas Safe engineer a call to make sure your pressure is right.

testing a smoke alarmTest your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

Unfortunately, the majority of house fires occur in the winter. Taking precautions to install and test your smoke detectors is an important safety measure.

The risk of carbon monoxide poisoning also increases with the additional time indoors, so ensure you have a functioning carbon monoxide detector as well.

bleeding a radiatorGive your radiators some TLC

Bleeding a radiator can seem like a daunting task, but it's really easy and will help keep your home toasty this winter.

If your radiators are cold at the top and hot at the bottom, they'll need bleeding.


Set up winter power outage support for vulnerable people

If you care for someone who is elderly, disabled or has a long-term medical condition, sign them up to their utility provider's Priority Services Register to ensure they receive priority support in an emergency.

children in halloween costumesCheck that Halloween costumes are fireproof

Don't get tricked this Halloween - check that any fancy-dress costumes you buy have a CE mark on the label.

As with all clothing, always keep Halloween and fancy-dress outfits away from fire, lit candles and all other naked flames.


Warm Homes Healthy People logoStay warm, stay healthy

Suffolk's Warm Homes Healthy People is a project designed to help vulnerable people and families make their homes cheaper to heat.

Find out more about the Warm Homes Healthy People project.

At home: outdoors

Firework code

fireworksAll firework displays should be set up by adults and they should also deal with the lighting of fireworks and the safe disposal of fireworks once they have been used (and remember, alcohol and fireworks don't mix!). Children and young people should always be supervised, and watch and enjoy fireworks at a safe distance.

Follow these top 10 tips for a safer fireworks party:

  1. Plan your firework display to make it safe and enjoyable, and ensure it finishes before 11pm
  2. Only buy fireworks which carry the CE mark, keep them in a closed box and use them one at a time
  3. Read and follow the instructions on each firework using a torch if necessary
  4. Light the firework at arm's length with a taper and stand well back
  5. Never return to a firework once it has been lit
  6. Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks
  7. Direct any rocket fireworks well away from spectators
  8. Don't put fireworks in pockets and never throw them
  9. Never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire
  10. Make sure that the fire is out and surroundings are made safe before leaving

Clear out your gutters

It's not a nice job, but at this time of year, it's important to make sure your guttering is clear of sticks and leaves.

Once you're up the ladder, make sure the pipes can carry water away from your home. This prevents damp from getting into your walls which can cause damage.

insulating external pipesInsulate external water pipes

When you insulate external water pipes, it can reduce the possibility of them freezing and bursting.

Help clear your neighbours' driveways and paths

You can clear snow and ice yourself. The government give tips on how to clear snow from a road, path or cycleway.

Report broken street lights

You can report a faulty street light, even if it's not on your road. This will help keep your community more safe.

Getting out and about: staying safe in severe weather

Walking in snow and ice

Don't walk in snow and ice unless it's necessary. If you do have to venture out, you can wear footwear with grips and use Nordic walking poles.

flood on roadHeavy rain and flooding

Heavy rain increases the chance of flooding:

If we can't fit, we can't grit

Make sure you park your car to leave enough room for vehicles to grit the road and emergency vehicles to drive through safely.

Find out more about gritting routes in Suffolk.

Getting out and about: staying safe when travelling

winter car tyreGet a winter inspection for your car

Each year there are, on average, 480,000 injuries caused by weather-related vehicle crashes in the UK.

Make sure your vehicle is deemed safe enough to drive in winter conditions. This, in large part, means having the right tires for your local weather conditions.

Plan alternative routes

Let someone know where you are going and what time you hope to arrive so that they can raise the alarm if you get into difficulties.

Plan alternative routes in case your main choice(s) becomes impassable. For the latest updates on roads, follow Suffolk Highways on Twitter.

Use bright lights and reflective gear

As the evenings start getting darker, having the right lights, reflectors and reflective gear as a cyclist or pedestrian, means that drivers can see you as much as 40 metres earlier. Stay safe, stay bright.

child in car seat

Make sure your child is safe in their car seat

Don't strap your child into their car seat in a thick winter coat.

In the case of a crash, the impact will force the coat to compress, leaving the harness hanging loosely and not offering protection. Use blankets over the straps instead.


Driving safely in winter

Driving in WinterWith the temperature dropping and the dark nights drawing in, the weather can be unpredictable and turn quickly, making roads treacherous. Ice, snow, heavy rain and fog significantly increase the risks on roads.

Stopping distances can double in the wet and increase ten-fold in ice and snow. If you can’t see clearly, you can’t react to hazards. Here are some top tips to ensure you travel safety during the winter months.