With more snow predicted across the country today, agencies in West Yorkshire are encouraging residents to ensure they are ready for severe weather.
The past two winters have seen temperatures plummet in some parts of the region, with winter 2009 to 2010 the coldest recorded nationally since the 1970s.
The snow and ice caused crashes, hospital admissions and school closures.
West Yorkshire Resilience Forum – made up of health, local authority and emergency services – is urging people to take a few simple steps which could reduce their risk of
ill-health, accident or injury in the coming months.
They say by being prepared and stocking up on a few essentials, people can reduce the risk of being caught out by a sudden cold snap.
Co-chairman of West Yorkshire Resilience Forum, West Yorkshire Police Assistant Chief Constable Mark Milsom, said: “We’ve seen a couple of hard winters and that severe weather creates an increased demand on all agencies, including police, council and health.
“While some of that is due to the unavoidable, such as road crashes and people being taken ill, there are precautions people can take now to reduce the risks.
“Bad weather always stretches our resources and while we can copy, response times for the emergency services for example can be reduced, if only because it is more difficult for us to get around too.
“Simple things make a difference, such as keeping yourself warm at home by ensuring you have enough heating oil, along with grit and salt if you live in an inaccessible area.
“We’d also like to see people looking out for their neighbours, particularly if they are elderly or living alone.
“If you’re a motorist, make sure now that your vehicle is ready for the months ahead. The winter months take a lot more out of a car and can identify any weak points in the battery or electrical system. A pre-winter service is a useful investment.”
The frum advises following these simple steps to reduce the impact of severe weather:
Heat your home – or at least the rooms you use often - to between 18 and 21 degrees celsius. Wear layers of clothes to trap warm air and wrap up warm in bed. Eat at least one hot meal a day and drink plenty of non-alcoholic drinks, particularly hot drinks like tea, coffee or hot squash.
If you have prescription medicines make sure you have a stock in – don’t forget COPD inhalers or asthma preventer inhalers, particularly for children. Don’t go outside in severe weather unless you need to; instead try to keep active indoors. If you do need to go out, wrap up warm and wear sturdy, non-slip footwear. Keep an eye on elderly friends and neighbours.
If you are feeling unwell with a cough, cold, flu or stomach upset please do not visit friends or relatives in hospital. If you have a stomach upset please wait two days until after the symptoms have gone.
Keep food cupboards well-stocked. Make sure you have enough money on your electricity and gas meters and keep a torch somewhere handy. Listen to the weather forecasts – sometimes it’s not safe to make a journey so stay at home. If you have to travel, be prepared for all weather conditions and plan your route accordingly. Get your vehicle serviced and carry an emergency kit in the boot.
Make a note of important phone numbers such as NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 and West Yorkshire Urgent Care Services on 0345 605 99 99; your gas, water and electricity suppliers; and friends, carers, relatives and neighbours.