Keep up to date with what's happening during winter
The winter season for Suffolk Highways lasts from 1 October to 30 April.
Follow @suff_highways on Twitter for regular updates during winter.
For further information:
- See up-to-date forecasts and information about winter weather warnings on the Met Office website.
- Visit the severe weather information page on the Suffolk County Council website.
- See the Met Office's Get Ready for Winter tips and advice pages.
We work with:
To stay protected:
- get vaccinated against seasonal flu if you're eligible
- check weather forecasts and take this into account when planning your day
- check you have shoes with good grip, to prevent falls in cold weather
- wear several layers of clothes to stay warm
- remain active in your home and limit going outside unless it is necessary
- good hand hygiene can help prevent the spread of norovirus
- check NHS: Five ways to stay healthy this winter for health guidance
Suffolk Warm Homes Healthy People helps vulnerable people and families make their homes warmer and cheaper to heat. The service can help in several ways:
- Help with your fuel payments
- Lend you electric heaters
- Assess you for financial assistance towards the cost of repairs or replacements if your boiler or heater stops working
- Discuss energy efficiency improvements that could make a real difference to your heating bills
- Help you to access grants to help pay for insulation and basic draught proofing
Tips for staying warm in your home:
- Set your thermostat at around 18-21C and heat all the rooms you use in the day
- If you cannot heat all your rooms, make sure you keep your main living room warm throughout the day and heat your bedroom before going to bed
- In very cold weather, rather than turn the thermostat up, set the heating to come on earlier so you will not be cold while you wait for your home to heat up
- Have regular meals, including plenty of hot food and drinks, keeping your diet as varied as possible
- During the night try to keep the temperature above 18C in your bedroom
- Find more information from NHS: Keep warm keep well.
Reviewing customers during adverse weather
During adverse weather it is essential to review adult’s situation to ensure that there has not been an increase in risk to their health and well-being as a consequence of the current weather situation.
What to do and consider?
- Make contact with people using a safe and familiar method of communication with them if possible, e.g. telephone/text/WhatsApp/MS teams call. If via text, after text contact ask to speak to them.
- Find out if commissioned services are affected by the adverse weather conditions.
- If this is the case what needs to happen next? Do you need to liaise with the care provider and/or family? Check what is detailed within the Carers Emergency Plan.
- Are there any voluntary services that can support? For example, Home But Not Alone, NHS Volunteers or the Voluntary Sector https://www.communityactionsuffolk.org.uk/projects/suffolk-good-neighbour-network/
- Is there an increased health needs that requires addressing? Do you have permission to speak to their GP if needed?
- Is the person at risk of suffering abuse or neglect? If so consult the Safeguarding During Coronavirus Advice note for things to consider 2020-03-11 Safeguarding cases during COVID version 4.pdf (sharepoint.com)
- Consider the amount of contact required during this period to monitor their safety and well-being, e.g. Weekly telephone contact, daily text, leave them to contact you if there is an issue?
- What if I cannot make contact with someone? It is vital that if you are not able to speak to someone that the level of risk is assessed. How many times would you attempt to make contact before taking action? This situation and risk assessment should be discussed with a manager.
- Is the person’s health and welfare reliant on care in the immediacy? If you are unable to speak to them and you do not know whether vital care is able to be delivered, then immediate action needs to be taken. Consider contacting their family and/or care provider to ensure the person is safe. Have they heard from them first or are they able to make contact? • Are family or the care provider able to undertake a welfare visit?
- If no one else is able to undertake a welfare visit - Is there someone else able to undertake a welfare visit, yourself? A colleague who lives locally? Someone on the Emergency Response Register?
- Use the ‘Visiting or Transporting a Person Risk Assessment’ to document your considerations about what needs to happen, balancing risks of visiting as opposed to not visiting
- Is the 4x4 service available to support you or a colleague or the care provider to undertake a visit.
- If all these avenues are exhausted and there is still no contact with the person then alert emergency services.
Ensure that you record all your attempts at contact and liaison with others on LAS.
Protecting your home
To protect your home:
- check that pipes are adequately lagged and know where your stop tap is located
- check that your heating is serviced and cooking appliances in your home are working correctly
- check that you have ordered your winter heating fuel
- find out if you are entitled to grants and subsidies for home heating insulation
- check your smoke alarm; if you do not have one, get one for free by signing up to a home fire safety check
- when using open fires, make sure you always use a fireguard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers
- make sure embers are under control and properly put out before you go to bed
- keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained
- keep heaters away from curtains and furniture, never use them for drying clothes and try to secure them against a wall to stop them from falling over
- unplug electric heaters and blankets when you go to bed
- only use gas or paraffin heaters in well-ventilated areas. You could suffocate if the room is not properly aired
- never use hot water bottles in the same bed as an electric blanket
- don't leave electric blankets folded as this damages the internal wiring
- electric blankets should be bought new and tested every 3 years. Replace your blanket when it is more than 10 years old
- if you have to use candles or matches always secure them in a proper holder and away from materials that may catch fire - like curtains
- put candles out completely using a snuffer or water before leaving the room or going to bed
- discuss with family and neighbours how snow and ice might be cleared from in front of your house if you will be unable to do this yourself
Keeping warm this winter
For advice on keeping warm and well this winter, call the Winter Warmth Advice Line free on 0800 085 7000, Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, or textphone 0800 085 7857.
For more general information, see Age UK's Spread the Warmth campaign.
Be a good neighbour
Icy roads and snow can often mean that older or more vulnerable people are not able to get out and about.
Checking the welfare of vulnerable people
If you have an elderly, vulnerable neighbour or a relative, please look out for them in the winter months. They may need help with shopping, clearing paths, walking a dog or to see a friendly face.
Check to see if the curtains are not opened during the day, or there are no lights on in the evening, as there may be something wrong.
Try knocking on the door to see if there's an answer. If not, contact a relative or friend who you think may have a key.
Are you concerned about your welfare, or the welfare of someone else?
If you have concerns about somebody who you have not seen for a while and you have not been able to contact them, get in touch with your local police force on 101.
If you have immediate concerns around your own health or welfare, or somebody else's, please call 999.
If you feel that yourself, or somebody you know, is struggling to maintain their personal care, then there may be support from adult care services.
Clearing snow and ice from pavements
Anyone can clear snow and ice from the pavement outside their home or public spaces to prevent slips and falls.
Do not be put off clearing paths because you're afraid someone will get injured. Remember, people walking on snow and ice have a responsibility to be careful themselves.
The government gives advice about clearing snow from a road, path or cycleway.
Winter weather can deteriorate fast, making driving hazardous. Suffolk Police advise motorists to:
- check the weather forecast before setting off, if bad weather is forecast consider whether your journey is necessary
- top up anti-freeze and screen wash and check for wear and tear on wiper blades
- make sure your battery is fully charged
- keep tyres at the recommended pressures and check you have at least 3 mm of tread
- wipe off dirt, the spray of headlamps and make sure all bulbs are working
- keep windows clear of snow, frost and condensation before setting off on a journey
- clear snow from the top of the car
- keep the fuel tank topped up and make sure you have enough fuel for your journey
- allow extra time for your journey and drive at a sensible speed
- take a fully charged mobile phone with you and carry a mobile charger and some emergency kit in the car, including a map, jump leads for the car battery, torch, warning triangle, ice scraper, de-icer, first-aid kit and warm clothes
- in severe weather or for a long trip you may want to add a shovel, a pair of boots, a blanket, any medication, food and a hot drink
Suffolk Constabulary has more information about driving in bad weather.