Charity: Red Cross offers winter readiness tips

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The British Red Cross is urging people to make early preparations in case of severe weather this winter.

The charity, which helps communities get ready to deal with emergencies, has issued a set of suggestions for steps people can take now which will make things easier if they are affected by freezing conditions, loss of utilities or flooding.

Red Cross health and social care manager Geraldine Spearman said: “Every winter the freezing weather causes problems, and we want to make sure people are as ready as they can be to deal with emergencies.

“We already work with local councils and utility companies to support the most vulnerable, but there is more that people can do themselves. We have put together a handy list of kit that can be assembled and some tips on what people can do if the weather becomes very severe.”

The Red Cross suggests that people put together a ‘grab bag’ of essentials including:

l Emergency contact phone numbers

l Torch and radio – ideally wind-up, or battery-powered with spare batteries

l Essential medication, toiletries and a first aid kit

l Ready to eat food and bottles of water

l Copies of important documents, e.g. insurance policies, birth certificate

l Pencil, paper, a penknife and a whistle

l Spare sets of keys

l Spare glasses or contact lenses

l If required, spare baby and pet supplies

Geraldine added: “Having these things ready will bring peace of mind, and will make a huge difference in the event of flooding, power cuts or difficulty leaving the house.

The Red Cross has also issued guidance on what to do in a bad weather emergency this winter. Key points include:

l Learn first aid through the Red Cross website or mobile phone app

l Only undertake essential travel, and make sure someone knows where you’re going

l Check weather, news and travel reports regularly

l Check on your neighbours, family and friends, especially those who live alone

l If you’re able to, help clear ice and snow from pathways of those who can’t do it themselves

l If you have care responsibilities, think about back-up help in case you get stranded

Geraldine said; “The Red Cross emergency response teams of volunteers will be standing by this winter to support the emergency services.

“In the past we have used our 4x4s to help transport people to medical appointments and make welfare checks on the most vulnerable when the roads are treacherous.

“We will keep working with communities across Bedfordshire to ensure that everyone is as well-prepared and cared for as they can be this winter.”