How to prepare for cold weather

In the worst cases, exposure to extreme cold or simply being cold for a long time can result in injury or death. Here are a few tips on how to brace yourself for cold weather before the mercury starts to fall.

Heating and food

For many people, electrical appliances are their only source of heating. Most people also rely on electricity for food preparation and hot water. If it’s extremely cold outside, you are even more vulnerable in a power cut. It’s a good idea to think about how you'll keep warm if there is a sudden power cut. There's no doubt that woollen clothing, duvets and blankets are useful, but you often need an additional source of heating as well.

It’s also a good idea to keep a small store of food that you don’t need electricity to prepare. If you have a back-up supply of water, you are also better prepared if your water pipes freeze.

Good ventilation is vital

Gas appliances, paraffin stoves and open fires consume the oxygen in the air, while emitting carbon dioxide and water vapour into a room. If it’s bitterly cold outside, it’s tempting not to ventilate, but allowing fresh air into a room is absolutely vital. If normal ventilation is not sufficient, open the window wide for a few moments, every now and then.

Also remember that many heaters (including gas heaters and other types) must only be used while you are in the room, and never while you are asleep.

Sometimes we need help

Many people are not able to prepare adequately for extremely cold weather. Elderly people who live alone tend to be particularly vulnerable. Check whether any of your relatives or neighbours need some extra help. If anyone you know needs help in cold weather, contact your municipal service centre.

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