Winter weather

Stay warm, safe and healthy

Severe winter weather can keep many elderly and vulnerable people trapped in their own homes. Vulnerable people can be elderly, frail, living on their own, disabled or have a chronic illness.

  • Stay warm - cold homes can cause all sorts of health related problems, both physically and mentally
  • Stay safe - if you do venture out you put yourself at serious risk of falling on snow or ice
  • Stay healthy - being prepared could prevent health conditions worsening during periods of severe or cold weather and ultimately help avoid hospital admissions

Stay warm

  • Are you on your power supplier’s priority register? It gives you priority status during a power cut when everything will be done to restore power - or make other arrangements - as soon as possible.
  • Is your main living area is heated to around 18-21 °C and the rest of the house to at least 16 °C? Anything below these temperatures increases your risk of cold related illness.
  • Do you have blankets and a torch in a handy place in case your heating fails or there is a power cut?

Stay safe

  • Has your heating system serviced recently?
  • Are you registered with Hambleton Lifeline? This service, for which there is a charge, provides an alarm unit which when activated automatically dials a contact centre where help can be found.
  • Have you recently checked the condition of your electric blanket? If it is scorched, has a damaged flex, makes a buzzing sound, gives off a smell or is more than 10 years old it is time to replace it.
  • Have you 3 days worth of essential food and household items, including medication, to avoid having to venture outside - risking a slip or fall?
  • Is your radio tuned into the local radio station for travel and weather updates?
  • Can you easily find your utility provider’s contact details and account number in case of an emergency?
  • Do you know how to shut off your water valves in case of bursts?
  • Do you have an up to date first aid kit?

Stay healthy

  • Have you had a flu jab?
  • Do you have provision for a hot meal a day and hot drinks to keep you warm?
  • is there a supply of clean water in the house in case pipes freeze?
  • Are you physically active? Any activity will help keep you warm, even if it’s just wiggling your fingers and toes.
  • Do you have suitable warm outdoor clothing if it is absolutely necessary to venture outside?

Be prepared

  • Buy a wind up torch and radio in case of a power cut.
  • Get a supply of table salt or cat litter to use to melt ice.
  • Buy a snow shovel.
  • Stock up on essential food and household items to save that risky trip to the supermarket.
  • If you have a freezer keep bread, ready meals and frozen fruit and vegetables in it.

Other useful information

If you need a trader (plumber, electrician, heating engineer) always employ a trades person or business registered with the Government's Trust mark and who works to a code of practice set down by an approved scheme operator.

Faulty jobs

If work carried out has not been done properly, or if you feel you haven't been treated properly, contact either :

Produce a Winter Weather Plan

Check if your Parish Council has produced a Winter Weather/Emergency Plan that sets out procedures for supporting vulnerable people during periods of cold or severe weather. If there is no such plan in place, encourage your Parish Council to consider producing such a plan.

Find your Parish Council here:

The Snow Code and clearing snow

Don't be put off clearing paths because you're afraid someone will get injured. The Government's Snow Code gives very clear tips on clearing snow and ice from payments or public spaces:

  • clear snow and ice from steps and steep pathways
  • clear the snow or ice early in the day
  • it is easier to move fresh, loose snow
  • rather than trying to clear packed snow, spread sand or ash to provide good grip underfoot
  • take care where you move the snow - do not block paths or drains

North Yorkshire County Council will clear main roads and Parish or Town Councils may have made some additional arrangements locally. It is unrealistic to expect all pavements and roads to be cleared.

Useful contacts

Bogus traders Trading Standards 0800 223 1133
Citizens advice Citizens Advice Bureau 01609 776551
General advice and guidance

Age UK

The Silver Line

01609 771624

0800 4 70 80 90

Hambleton Lifeline Beyond Housing 03450 655656
Handyperson service Swale Home Improvement Agency 0345 366 4406
Health advice or urgent medical concern NHS 111 service 111
Priority Services Register

Northern Powergrid

To report a powercut

0800 375 675


Winter fuel payments Dept of Work & Pensions 03459 151515

Emergency number

If the weather is severe and transport affected, we will activate an emergency helpline:

  • 01609 779977

You can find our other emergency contacts here:

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